Fans are roused by home run

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The Independent Online
South Africa hope emotional home support will help to carry them past Ghana in their African Nations' Cup semi-final in Johannesburg today.

The tournament may have been beset by poor attendances but the chance of seeing the home team reach the showpiece of their first finals tournament is expected to attract a capacity 75,000 crowd to Soccer City.

That semi-final is being billed as the "premature final", with Tunisia and the high-scoring Zambia, who dispute the other place in the final earlier in the day in Durban, being dismissed as underdogs.

South Africa won a dramatic quarter-final against Algeria on Saturday, a match which finally raised public interest in the tournament and heightened the prospect of another sporting triumph to go with the nation's rugby union success. "Everything is working well for us. Forward we go; backwards never," the midfielder John Moshoeu said.

Ghana , the pre-tournament favourites, will have their captain, Abedi Pele, back in the starting line-up. He was carried off during Sunday's quarter-final victory over Zaire, but an X-ray revealed no crack or break in his swollen ankle. Ghana's pursuit of a record fifth Nations' Cup title was also will also be boosted by the return of the striker Yaw Preko, who missed their three previous matches through injury.

South Africa will be without the Leeds United forward Phil Masinga, who will be serving a one-match suspension after receiving his second caution of the tournament on Saturday. South Africa's coach, Clive Barker, said he would be replaced by Shaun Bartlett.