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African Cup of Nations 2019: Ghana Football Team | Final Squad, Preview, Predictions

ANALYST
Feature
14 Jun 2019, 16:18 IST

Andre Ayew - Ghanaian skipper
Andre Ayew - Ghanaian skipper

Four-time African champions, the Black Stars of Ghana, go into AFCON 2019 as one of the favorites in Group F, alongside defending champions Cameroon.

They have finished as runners up a record 5 times and boast of a consecutive last-four finish in each edition since 2008. However, their last triumph was in 1982, and that is certainly something the Kwesi Appiah led side will be looking to remedy this time out.

In the run-up to the tournament, erstwhile captain and leading scorer for the national team, Asamoah Gyan, announced his retirement from the national team, citing differences with the head coach Kwesi Appiah as the reason for his decision. However, he rescinded his decision 24 hours later at the request of Ghana's President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Ghana goes into the tournament led by a 29-year-old midfielder and newly appointed captain, Andre Ayew. He leads a stellar cast of players, including Kwadwo Asamoah of Inter Milan, Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid, and Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace.

Kwesi Appiah and his men will be looking to banish past failures in the tournament by winning the continental showpiece this time around, equalling defending champions and fellow Group F favorites, Cameroon, on 5 triumphs. Ghana is third on the list of most wins with 4 victories (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982), behind Cameroon (5) and Egypt (7).

The Black Stars are joined in Group F by defending champions Cameroon, Benin, and Guinea-Bissau.

The Ghanaian team is scheduled to lock horns with the Bafana Bafana of South Africa on June 15 in Dubai, before the team departs for Egypt on June 20, 2019.


Ghana Squad

Goalkeepers: Richard Ofori, Lawrence Ati-Zigi, Felix Annan.

Defenders: Andy Yiadom, Abdul Baba Rahman, Lumor Agbenyenu, Kassim Nuhu, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah, Joseph Aidoo, Joseph Attamah

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Midfielders: Mubarak Wakaso, Thomas Partey, Kwadwo Asamoah, Afriyie Acquah, Andre Ayew, Christian Atsu, Samuel Owusu, Thomas Agyepong

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan, Jordan Ayew, Caleb Ekuban, Kwabena Owusu.


Key Players

Andre Ayew: Ghanian head coach, Kwesi Appiah, recently handed the captaincy mantle to 'Dede Ayew', tasking him to lead the Black Stars to continental glory in Egypt. Andre Ayew comes from a family of footballers, as he's the son of Ghanaian legend, Abedi 'Pele' Ayew, and he has two brothers, Jordan & Ibrahim, who are professional footballers.

The winger is tasked with leading Ghana to a 5th continental triumph in over 30 years, however, he is no stranger to captaining his country to international success, as Andre Ayew captained the Ghana U-20 team which won the 2009 African Youth Championship & the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

He currently plays on loan in Turkey for Fenerbahce and last season he played 38 times, scoring 5 goals, and notched 2 assists.

Dede Ayew will be looking to emulate current head coach Kwesi Appiah by lifting the AFCON trophy in July. He recently said:

“We are prepared. We know what we have to do because we have experienced players in the team, so I am confident.
“I just hope that the gods of football will be with us because if you want to win there should be a great fighting spirit, discipline, focus and above all luck on our side to ensure we sail through."

Thomas Partey: He currently plies his trade for Atletico Madrid in Spain, and is one of the most sought after midfielders on the planet. The 26-year-old Partey will be the man coach Kwesi Appiah will definitely task with enforcing Ghanaian dominance in midfield.

He made his debut for Ghana in 2016, and so far he has appeared 20 times for the national team, scoring on 7 occasions.

Last season he was an integral part of Diego Simeone's plans, appearing 42 times, scoring 3 goals, and providing 6 assists. He will certainly be looking to carry his stellar form for Atleti onto the biggest stage in African football.


Kwadwo Asamoah: The Inter Milan defender certainly is vastly experienced when it comes to winning. Asamoah won 12 trophies during his time with Italian behemoths, Juventus, including 6 consecutive Scudetto.

The 30-year-old defender will be looking to showcase his experience during the continental showpiece. He has represented Ghana in 4 AFCON tournaments, as well as 2 FIFA World Cups. Kwadwo Asamoah is also a 2 time Ghana Player of the Year, and in 2013 was ranked the 27th best footballer in the world by Bloomberg.

He moved to Inter Milan in 2018 and featured heavily for the Italian side last term, appearing in 42 games and providing 2 assists in the process.

Coach Kwesi Appiah will certainly be banking on Kwadwo Asamoah's vast treasure trove of experience during Egypt 2019.


Ghana Football Team African Cup of Nations Fixtures

Tuesday, June 25: Ghana Vs Benin

Saturday, June 29: Cameroon Vs Ghana

Tuesday, July 02: Guinea-Bissau Vs Ghana

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