There is nothing as awkward in football like playing against a team that has nothing to lose as Ghana may find out when they take on Cape Verde in the first quarterfinal of the Africa Cup of Nation South Africa 2013.
The Black Stars, the pre-tournament second favourite after Ivory Coast to win the title, should expect the toughest match yet of the competition against debutants Cape Verde, who stunned the more established teams like Angola and Morocco in Group A to reach the last eight.
“I believe Cape Verde is a very strong team. I still think we will beat them, but it will not be easy,” Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah told the media on Friday.
But for the Cape Verdeans, they will come into the game a very strong team and under no pressure whatsoever, which makes them a tricky team.
They are not expected to win, and have nothing to lose even in defeat and so much to gain if they can pull off what would be one of the biggest upsets in the competition history.
By reaching the quarterfinal, the west African Island nation has already surpassed their wildest dream achievement, which they attained by beating Angola 2-1, drew with both South Africa (0-0) and Morocco (1-1).
Ghana, having failed to live up to the high expectations of their fans last year in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, will be keen to avoid falling to an unheralded team, which only gained prominence in African football last year when they beat Cameroon in the qualifiers to deny them a place in the finals.
The second quarterfinal between Mali and South Africa should be a tricky one especially for the hosts, who, coming into this stage, have not been convincing at all, while the former, just like Cape Verde, have little to lose and that makes them so dangerous.