Wakaso Stock Rises At Afcon 2013

Ghana midfielder Wakaso Mubarak has suddenly seen his stock rise following an impressive showing in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations where the youngster's brace against Cape Verde not only handed the Black Stars a semi-final ticket but has also shot him to the top of the scorers chart with three goals. He shares the top spot with Nigeria's Emmanuel Emenike who scored the first goal as the Super Eagles beat the Elephants of Côte d'Ivoire 2-0 to deny them a place in the semifinals. At the Nations Cup it is not the usual suspect, Asamoah Gyan, who is leading the Black Stars' goal rush, but rather 22-year-old Espanyol star Wakaso who opened his account here with the match-winning goal in Ghana's lone goal victory over Mali at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium. Two of his goals have come from spot kicks. The strong midfielder, who only made his international debut last November has contributed to nearly half of Ghana's goal haul which has made Kwasi Appiah's team the tournament's best attacking side (the top scoring team) with eight goals spread between Wakaso, Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Christian Atsu, John Boye and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu. As many as seven players share second position on the goal-king chart having scored two goals each. The players are South Africa's Siyabonga Sangweni, Burkina Faso's Jonathan Pitriopa, Ivorians Gervinho and Yaya Toure, Mali captain Seydou Keita, Nigeria striker Victor Moses and Dieumera Mbokani of DR Congo. Star-studded Côte d'Ivoire, exited the tournament as joint leading attacking side alongside Ghana with eight goals, two goals more than third-placed semi-finalists Burkina Faso and Nigeria. Ghana coach Kwasi Appiah must devise a strategy to unlock the ironclad defence of Burkina Faso who have the strongest defence in the tournament with only one goal conceded after four games, whereas the Black Stars have the second tightest defence going into the semifinals with two goals conceded - both in the opening Group B game giants DR Congo on January 20. Semifinalist Nigeria have conceded three goals in four matches, just as South Africa and Togo. Emmanuel Adebayor's Togo exited the Nations Cup last Sunday as the most indiscipline side after attracting as many as 17 yellow cards, five more than Nigeria's Super Eagles and their semi-final opponents Mali who attracted 11 cautions.