Ghana finally get campaign underway

LUANDA - World Cup finalists Ghana finally enter the African Nations Cup fray on Friday when they meet the Ivory Coast in a Group B match in Cabinda.

It is the first at the tournament for Ghana, who did not play as scheduled on Monday after the departure ahead of the start of the Nations Cup by Togo following a deadly attack on their bus in the Angolan enclave.

For the Ivory Coast, it is their final group game, where they will be seeking a much improved performance to the goalless draw they played out against the group's other team, Burkina Faso, at the start of the week.

"I hope we will play better football and that my team will prove more efficient," Ivorian coach Vahid Halilhodzic told a media conference on the eve of the game.

The match is likely to be dominated by the clash between Chelsea team mates Didier Drogba and Michael Essien, who have to put club loyalty aside when they captain their respective sides.

Essien only arrived in Cabinda on Wednesday, his trip with Ghana first delayed by hamstring injury and then poor flight connections out of Europe.

Ghana had also been hit by several injury-enforced withdrawals on the eve of the tournament, including Fulham's John Paintsil and Sunderland defender John Mensah.

Friday's single game at the Nations Cup follows on Thursday's Group A double header in Luanda which saw Angola beat Malawi 2-0 and Algeria win 1-0 over Mali.