TALK of an epic Orange Africa Cup of Nations soccer final between heavyweights Ghana and Nigeria has already begun.
But first Ghana will need to overcome Burkina Faso at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit tonight while Nigeria will be up against Mali in Durban in the early match.
Ghana are always strong favourites to reach the end stage of the Afcon, but will have memories of how they bowed out before the final in the last three tournaments.
Added to this, the Burkinabe will be keen to prove they are genuine title contenders and not merely a team making up the numbers.
"Burkina Faso are a good team," conceded Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah. "Looking at their games so far, they're very strong defensively. It's not going to be easy. We'll have to do extra work to get a win."
Even though Ghana appear to have the edge – given that they have won three of their four games in this Afcon – the Stallions of Burkina Faso have been a revelation.
Both sides have conceded the fewest goals in the tournament – Burkina Faso one while scoring six; Ghana letting in two and scoring eight.
Appiah has expressed belief in his players, among whom are stars such as Mubarak Wakaso, Asamoah Gyan, Christian Atsu and Kwado Asamoah.
His Burkina Faso counterpart, Paul Put, has placed his faith in Moumouni Dagano and Jonathan Pitroipa in the absence of injured Alain Traore.
A win for Burkina Faso would represent a major upset. And to that end, they will have left nothing to chance in their preparations for one of the biggest matches in the history of Burkina Faso football.
"We respect Ghana. They are a great team with great players," Put said.
"Even though the pitch could be an advantage to us, Ghana are very good tactically and are quite a physical side. But we've got nothing to lose because nobody was expecting us to reach the semifinals."