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Jordan Ayew: Ghana’s Afcon 2023 qualification, a proud achievement

Jordan Ayew hailed the ‘beauty of football’ after captaining Ghana to a hard-fought qualification for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Thursday.

In a high-stakes Group E showdown against Central African Republic (CAR) at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, coach Chris Hughton entrusted the Crystal Palace forward with the captain’s armband, knowing that a loss could jeopardize their Afcon hopes.

The match began on a challenging note for the Black Stars as Louis Mafouta put the Central African Republic in the lead with a 25th-minute goal. However, goals from Mohammed Kudus and Ernest Nuamah orchestrated a comeback, enabling the four-time Afcon winners to clinch the top spot in Group E.

Reflecting on the match, Ayew stated: “You know in football, sometimes it does not go the way you want. You know you can go one goal down, but you still have 70 minutes to play and you have to never give up, and that was my way of thinking.

“I tried to transfer it to the boys and 1-0 down, I was still confident, because sometimes you struggle in a game but you still need to push. Even before the game, I told them if we go 1-0 down, we need to keep pushing, because if we get the next goal we’d win the game – and that’s what happened.

“That’s the beauty of football: it’s full of emotions. We are proud that we have qualified because it wasn’t easy. The most important thing was to qualify.”

The match against CAR marked a significant milestone for Jordan Ayew, as it was his 91st cap for Ghana, placing him fourth on the all-time list of appearances for the senior national team.

It is worth noting that, despite its name, the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will be hosted in Cote d’Ivoire between January 13 and February 11, 2024, a decision aimed at avoiding adverse rainy summer conditions in the host country.



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