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Sports Features of Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Andre Ayew; Black Stars' new captain

Andre Dede Ayew will be leading Ghana’s senior national team, the Black Stars to a land, that comes to mind with fond memories, when he led the national under-20 team, the Black Satellites to conquer the rest of Africa.

It was his first and major achievement with a national team, in the finals of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) U-20 final in Egypt, he and the rest of the team showed resilience, character and dedication to achieve a landmark feat in world football.

Ten years down the lane, Ayew assumes the captain of the senior national team from Ghana’s all-time leading goal scorer Asamoah Gyan, for the continental showpiece in Egypt, from June 21 to July 19.

With a playing career spanning from Ghana, France, England and Turkey, Ayew has always been a player who plays with so much energy, passion and character to see his team win or would fight till the final whistle, which has earned him a lot of admiration from football pundits, describing him as a captain material for any team.

André Dede Ayew, born 17 December 1989, who plays as a winger for Super Lig club Fenerbahçe, on loan from Championship club Swansea City has been handed a huge responsibility to lead Ghana to end the over 37 year trophy drought as president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in bidding them a farewell at the Banquet Hall of the Jubilee House noted that this tournament should be seen as “the year of return for the trophy”.

Having earned a full international for Ghana since 2008 and earning over 65 caps for the senior national team, Ayew has distinguished himself very well to the national course anytime he is called upon, thus seeing him make two FIFA World Cups in South Africa and Brazil in 2010 and 2014 respectively as well as five African Cup of Nations in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2017, helping Ghana finish runner-up in the 2010 and 2015 editions and being voted the top goal scorer in 2015.

With such an enormous experience in the African cup of nations, one wouldn’t doubt his abilities as he leads a team that would have to dwell so much on its midfield, due to the lack of killer instincts upfront.

With so many spiritualities and instincts backing his captaincy role, Ayew in his quest in accepting the huge responsibility placed on his shoulders as the captain going into a tournament that has been expanded from 16 to 24 nations for the first time, the 29 year old noted that it was a huge task handed him and his team but they would do their best.

“Going into a tournament of 24 nations wouldn’t be easy, but with the confidence, Ghanaians have reposed in us, we would do our best to bring glory and joy to the nation.

“We would need the support of all well-meaning Ghanaians as we prepare to take on the rest of Africa in Egypt, it won’t come easy but we are equal to the task”.

With the Black Stars team currently based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) preparing to take on Namibia and South Africa on 9th and 16th June respectively in an international friendly, coach Kwesi Appiah and his technical team would have the opportunity to assess the team and make an informed decision on the final 23-man squad before emplaning to Egypt for the June 20 to July 19, 2019 continental showpiece.

The journey has just begun for Ayew and his teammates in the likes of Kwadwo Asamoah, Thomas Partey, Christian Atsu, Afriyie Acquah, Jordan Ayew, Asamoah Gyan, Baba Rahman, Jonathan Mensah, John Boye, Mubarak Wakaso, who barring any last minute hitches and injuries, would make the 23 man squad for this year’s tournament.