February 29, 2024

Ghana Veteran Andre Ayew Eyes AFCON Scoring Record

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Veteran Ghana forward Andre Ayew is hoping to create one record and equal another during the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in the Ivory Coast from Saturday.

The 34-year-old, who recently joined French top-flight outfit Le Havre, has his sights set on becoming the first player to score in seven editions of the marquee African football event.

He shares the record of scoring in six with compatriot Asamoah Gyan, Zambian Kalusha Bwalya and Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, the all-time leading Cup of Nations scorer with 18 goals.

He also hopes to become only the third star to play in eight editions of a competition that began as a three-team tournament in 1957 but is now a 24-nation spectacle.

Rigobert Song, who will coach his native Cameroon at the 2024 Cup of Nations, and Egyptian Ahmed Hassan share the record for most tournament appearances.

“My priority is to either start or come off the bench in the Ivory Coast,” Ayew told reporters ahead of Group B clashes with Cape Verde, record seven-time champions Egypt and Mozambique.

“After that, let us see what happens. What is most important is that Ghana do well in this competition as we had a bad 2022 Cup of Nations, going out after the first round.”

Ghana boast the third most successful Cup of Nations record after Egypt and Cameroon with four titles, but the last came in 1982 when they edged hosts Libya in a final decided by penalties.

Humiliating Exit

They achieved six straight top-four finishes from 2008, but fell in the round of 16 five years ago and suffered a humiliating first round exit in 2022 after losing to minnows Comoros.

It did not help the Black Stars’ cause in the must-win showdown with the Comorans that Ayew was red-carded.

Amid calls from some Ghanaians for Ayew to be axed, a succession of coaches have kept faith in him, including current incumbent and former Premier League manager Chris Hughton.

“Andre contributes a lot to the Black Stars, both on and off the field,” says the ex-Newcastle and Brighton boss and former Republic of Ireland defender.

A son of former Ghana legend Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, Andre was born in France, where his father and three-time African Footballer of the Year was playing.

He made his professional debut with Marseille in 2007 and also played in the Premier League, Turkey, Qatar and England again before joining Le Havre this year.

His younger brother, Crystal Palace winger Jordan Ayew, is also in a Ghana squad that are among the favourites more because of their reputation than form.

In their last competitive match before the Cup of Nations, they crashed 1-0 away to bogey side the Comoros two months ago in a 2026 World Cup qualifier.

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