December 6th , 2023



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A year ago

Ayew, a football player for Qatar's Al Sadd club in the country's capital Doha, emphasized that the Ghana team must be healthy in order to provide the performance he is looking for.

The Black Stars qualified for the tournament this year after skipping the one in 2018, and they are in the same group as Uruguay, who eliminated them from the tournament in South Africa in 2010.

Ayew was interviewed by Al Jazeera about the national team's preparation, prospects, and expectations as well as the advantages of his playing experience in Qatar.

Al Jazeera: The World Cup is less than two months away. How is the Black Stars’ preparation?

AYEW: Everything is set up for a victorious World Cup. The best possible preparation is required, but most importantly, all of your players must be in good physical condition at that time. Before the World Cup, we played Brazil and will go on to play Nicaragua and Switzerland. Despite being friendly matches, they are all significant contests that will be challenging.

Al Jazeera: What are Ghana’s chances of reaching the knockout stage from the so-called “Group of Death”?

AYEW: We've got a chance. We are not viewed as favorites, which is to be expected. We are aware that we are not the favorites heading into any of the games, but we are nonetheless prepared to compete and leave a mark. The only thing we need to do is be prepared, focused, and motivated. Every team will find this group to be very challenging.

We can seriously dismantle many teams if we are able to field our entire squad. I am not worried because I am aware of Ghana's potential.

Al Jazeera: Will the game between Ghana and Uruguay be a revenge mission after the heartbreak of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa?

AYEW: As team captain, I don't think we should see this game as retaliation. Instead, we must have the intelligence to understand that it is a game we need to win. While we can't ignore the past, I could have used my hand to block a goal-bound shot in 2010 much like Uruguayan footballer Luis Suárez did. Each of us was hurt. However, that is a part of football, and has occurred in the past.

After everything that has been said in the media, all we want to do is defeat Uruguay. If you enter a game intending to exact revenge, you run the risk of making several errors and becoming agitated as a player. We simply need to maintain our composure, stick to the strategy, and try to win the game—or at the very least, move on to the next round.

Al Jazeera: What are Ghanaians’ expectations of the Black Stars in the World Cup? Can they be met?

AYEW: Ghanaians need persistence, focus, and a desire to sacrifice one's life for the jersey. Super-strong teams await you when you arrive at the World Cup, but we've proven over time that we can compete with them and, in some situations, even defeat them.

But compete and demonstrate your willingness to give your life for your nation. Thank God if the outcome is satisfactory. The most important thing to me, even if it doesn't, is that everyone in the country feels they did a good job of representing Africa and the country.

We are participating in the World Cup to promote not only Ghanaian football but also African football. All teams will receive African support anytime they play because there are only five African representatives, and this is how we should always encourage our own fellow brothers to achieve history in this event.

We all fight for our nations when it comes to the African Cup of Nations, but when it comes to the World Cup, we all fight for the continent. Additionally, everyone will be happy if we can compete against the best teams and project a positive picture of Africa on the field.

Al Jazeera: Should Africa have more slots at a World Cup starting from 2026?

AYEW: It would be great if we had more teams. It's past due. We have the most nations, but we are underrepresented, and the qualifiers for Africa are consistently challenging and demanding. It will be challenging for all the large teams to qualify with only five slots because there are many big teams and huge expectations.

We will have a higher chance of witnessing an African team make it to the World Cup semifinals or maybe win it if we can earn more spots.

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Brako Stephen


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