Africa Cup of Nations 2012: Second Place Is Not an Option for Favorite Ghana

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 19, 2012

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 26:  Andre Ayew of Ghana in action during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

We are about to see if pressure and expectations can help a team focus, because Ghana is dealing with a tremendous amount of both ahead of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. 

The Nations Cup begins this weekend, and Ghana is supposed to win. In fact, they are destined to win, depending on who you are talking to and the loyalties they claim. 

There is hardly a more talented side going into the tournament, and the pressure extends to manager Goran Stevanovic, who is tasked with ending a three-decade drought for the national side. 

If you want to know just what is expected, consider what the president of Ghana FA, Kwesi Nyantakyi, had to say, via ESPN

We're ready. We're going for the ultimate. I also have that strong belief that this is our time. I'm optimistic.

The players have given the assurance that they are physically and mentally strong to live up to the expectation. Everybody is saying this is our time and it's a strong indication that we are going for it.

This side felt ultimate pain when they saw Egypt celebrate instead of them in 2010. This is the tournament where the Black Stars will once again reign supreme. At least that is what is being trumpeted throughout the world. 

A loss at any point would be disastrous for a nation that expects nothing less than ultimate glory. Past failure was accepted with the amount of youth that flooded the roster. 

Now those young men are mature stars in their own right and are front and center on clubs throughout the world. The experience is there, and the talent is immense. 

Now all they have to do is get the results. Michael Essien will be missed, but Andre Ayew has filled in nicely and only serves to show the depth of this side. 

There is no lack of pressure heaped on the shoulders of these men. If they can handle it and channel their energies, they will be no less than heroes to their nation.