Andre Ayew: Black Stars fired up for Kenya revenge in AFCON qualifier

Author: Samuel Amoesi
The Black Stars began training on Tuesday evening ahead of Saturday's final AFCON qualifier against Kenya's Harmabee Stars

Black Stars stand-in captain Andre Ayew says the team are fired up for revenge when they play Kenya’s Harambee Stars in an 2019 AFCON final qualifier at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday.

The Fenerbahce midfielder leads the team for the Group F qualifier in place of substantive captain Asamoah Gyan, who is not part of Kwasi Appiah’s squad that began training in Accra on Tuesday afternoon.

He told the media after the workout that, despite already being guaranteed a place at the Nations Cup in Egypt, the Stars were aiming for a win to dislodge Kenya from the top spot of the group log, and also avenge the 0-1 loss the team suffered when they last met in Nairobi on September 18 last year.

“We want to win and top the group. The Kenyans beat us and I think it’s time for us to beat them too.The national team jersey always comes with responsibility to play well. Not all players have the opportunity, so we have to make the best out of the opportunity,” said Ayew who is set to make his 76th appearance for Ghana.

Andre Ayew in a chat with Deputy Sport Minister, Perry Okudzeto

Combative midfielder, Mubarak Wakaso, told the press after training that he was elated to be back to play for the national team again after last featuring for the team in their 2-0 win away to Ethiopia in a group qualifier in Addis Ababa four months ago.

“It always good to gather and play for the national team, I am very elated to see everyone, we would approach the game with all seriousness. Wearing the national jersey always gives me joy and demands i do my best,“asserted the Deportivo Alves star who looks set to make his 52nd international appearance for Ghana.

Coach Kwasi Appiah had close to a full squad as 21 players showed up for the first training day, with Inter Milan midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah and the Colombus Crew defensive duo of Harrison Afful and Jonathan Mensah as the notable absentees on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the national team handlers, the trio are expected to arrive in Accra from their respective bases on Tuesday night to join their teammates in camp.

Belgium-based defender Daniel Opare will be the last player to join the team on Wednesday after being handed a late call-up to replaced injured Andy Yiadom who got injured while playing fir his English Championship side, Reading at the weekend.

Coach Appiah told the media that he was excited by the positive attitude exhibited by players since regrouping in camp on Monday.
“The demeanour of the players is very good, each and every one is comporting himself. As usual everyone is giving his best which makes the job very difficult me in terms of selection.

 “It’s important Ghana win every game we play, I believe Kenya has very strong team and that the game would not be easy.”
The team will train at the Accra stadium on Wednesday evening under floodlights to get accustomed to Saturday’s late kickoff, and continue with preparation on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

Thomas Partey (left) and Jordan Ayew battle it out at training

Black Stars returnee Kwesi Appiah in action (Pix: Ebow Hanson)

Richard Ofori is Ghana's first choice goalkeeper