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Andre Ayew backs Ghana’s next generation to recapture past glories

Captain Andre Ayew has thrown his weight behind Ghana’s emerging crop of players, insisting the Black Stars will bounce back from their recent struggles to reclaim their status as an African powerhouse.

The former African champions are preparing to face Mali in their 2026 World Cup qualifier in Bamako next month as they chase their fifth appearance at the global tournament.

But the fortunes of the Black Stars have waned in recent years, with the four-time African champions failing to end their 42-year wait for continental silverware. Ghana’s last major honour came at the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations.

A new generation of talents like Mohammed Kudus, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, Kamaldeen Sulemana and Ibrahim Osman beginning to make their mark as the Black Stars seek to recapture their past glories.

The experienced forward Ayew, who is the son of legend Abedi Pele, reflected on Ghana’s golden era while expressing confidence that the current generation can follow in the footsteps of their illustrious predecessors.

He believes Ghana’s future remains bright – provided the current crop can shoulder the burden of representing a nation with such a storied footballing pedigree.

“We dominated for several years. I was part of this team with a golden generation,” Ayew said when speaking on Canal+ on Monday night.

“Then we had the generation of (Mubarak) Wakaso, (Asamoah) Gyan and John Mensah. Now there is a new generation coming.”

While acknowledging the weight of expectation on the current squad, Ayew is optimistic that Ghana’s future remains bright, even if the transition from one generation to the next has presented its challenges.

“There is a lot of pressure. Despite this generation dominating, we still couldn’t win. So this creates more pressure and more demands, and the country expects more and more,” the Le Havre player admitted.

“Today, the players do not have the experience that the players I just mentioned have or had.”

Ghana’s golden generation, spearheaded by talismanic figures like Stephen Appiah, Asamoah Gyan, Michael Essien, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, came agonisingly close to conquering Africa, finishing as runners-up at the 2010 and 2015 Cup of Nations.

Their near-misses have only amplified the clamour for success from a nation starved of silverware, heaping immense pressure on the current crop to deliver.

However, Ayew, who has amassed over 100 caps for his country, is confident the Black Stars’ future remains bright, even if a period of transition and acclimatisation is to be expected.

“The players start by getting used to it, by understanding what it means to wear this jersey, which means a lot to millions of people. The jersey is very heavy to wear and you need to have broad shoulders,” the 33-year-old said.

“I know we will bounce back. We work. We are going through a bad time. But we will get through this, I am sure.”

Ayew’s words will be a reassuring balm for Ghana fans frustrated by the national team’s recent toils. 

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Daraja Kapoor

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