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FACTBOX-Soccer-African Nations Cup finalists Ghana

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Jan 10 (Reuters) - Factbox on African Nations Cup finalists Ghana ahead of this year's tournament in South Africa from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10:

Previous appearances in African Nations Cup finals: 18

Best performance: Winners: 1963, 1965, 1978, 1982; Runners-up: 1968, 1970, 1992, 2010

FIFA world ranking Dec. 2012: 30th

Coach:

Kwesi Appiah was promoted to the head coach after serving as the assistant to several of his predecessors. He was an international defender in his playing days with Asante Kotoko and then worked in the Ghana Football Association's coaching structure. He had a previous spell as coach after the 2010 World Cup but only on a caretaker basis for six months.

Key players:

Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus). Age: 24. Pos: Midfielder

Signed by Italian champions Juventus from Udinese in June, he was a teenage debutant for the Black Stars. Played at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and is now close to 50 caps for the country. Operates effectively behind the strikers.

Asamoah Gyan (Al-Ain). Age: 27. Pos: Forward

A missed penalty with the final kick of the game cost Ghana a World Cup semi-final place in 2010. Gyan won widespread sympathy for his trauma but that turned to derision last year when his lack of form at the Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon contributed to Ghana's failure to reach the final.

Christian Atsu (FC Porto). Age: 21 Pos: Winger

The new hope of Ghana football who has emerged into the side since the last Nations Cup and who is expected to be among the young stars of the tournament. He was first brought into the Porto squad aged 17 by Andre Villas-Boas but this is his first season with regular game time.

Prospects:

Ghana will be among the favourites for the tournament, although they are without Andre and Jordan Ayew and have lost the influence of injury prone John Mensah in defence. The heavy burden of expectation on the team has sunk them repeatedly in the past and it is now more than 30 years since they won the last of their four Nations Cup titles. (Compiled by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town, Editing by Tom Pilcher)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130109/factbox-soccer-african-nations-cup-finalists-ghana