The Black Stars of Ghana will again be one of the favourites for the Africa Cup of Nations as they aim to secure a fifth title after their last victory 35 years ago.
Ghana are one of the most flourishing teams in the continent’s football showpiece having won it in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982.
However, they have since fallen short, being beaten in the championship games for the 2010 and 2015 editions and reaching the semi-finals in 2012 and 2013.
In 1982, oil-rich Libya paid for cash-strapped Ghana to attend the tournament with the Black Stars inspired by youngster Abedi Pele Ayew finally edging past their hosts in the final.
It was therefore understandable when Ayew’s son Andre will weep uncontrollably after Ghana fell on penalties in the championship game in Equatorial Guinea 33 years later.
The signs are again good they will enjoy another fine run in Gabon after they qualified unbeaten in a group that included Mozambique, Rwanda and Mauritius.
But at the same time, there have been concerns over the team’s recent form after going without a win in their last four games towards the end of last year so much so that their qualification hopes for the 2018 World Cup hang in the balance.
However, Torino midfielder Afriyie Acquah has backed his team to be champions again after a long wait.
They have a good team like we had in the last tournament. We played in the final in the previous edition but they lost to the Ivory Coast after a penalty shootout.
They have a tougher mentality this time around. They are working hard to be in the final and win the cup.”
Skipper Asamoah Gyan has continued to provide the goals and leadership for a team who have brought in new blood with the addition of the likes of Bernard Tekpety from Schalke 04 and Austria-based midfielder Samuel Tetteh.