Ayew: AFCON more difficult to win with 24 teams

Author: Kwame Larweh
Andre Dede Ayew

The assistant skipper of the Black Stars, Andre Dede Ayew, fears it will be a difficult task to win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with the new format of 24 competing nations.

According to him, the previous 16 team format was not an easy ordeal for competing teams, let alone an expanded 24-team format, but he stressed that his team mates were committed to the task of making it to the final at this year’s competition in Egypt.

The expanded tournament means that the winning side in Egypt will have to play seven matches -- one more than the previous format of 16 teams.

The midfielder noted that together with his team mates, they would take each match at a time and derive strength from their quality in depth and the victories they secure in each match.

 “It is going to be difficult, It is not going to be easy, even with 16 it was not easy but we will take each match at a time and do what we an to reach the final,” he said in an interview in Accra.

Barring any major injury, Ayew is expected to be one of the mainstays of Coach Kwasi Appiah’s side as Ghana attempts to end a 37-year title drought in Africa’s most prestigious competition.

The Fenerbahce star was not born when his famous father, Abedi Ayew Pele and Coach Appiah won Ghana’s fourth and last AFCON title in Libya in 1982, but he goes into his seventh tournament with a wealth of experience and the weight of expectation from Ghanaians.

Currently Ghana’s all-time leading goalscorer at the AFCON with eight goals alongside Asamoah Gyan, Ayew maintains that the Stars will go to Egypt with high ambitions to win the competition. And for the midfield star, he will hope to be third time lucky, having been on of the losing side in the final of the 2010 and 2015 tourneys when Ghana lost to Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire respectively.

 “We are still very much committed towards winning the AFCON and our attention has always been on that,” he noted.