WHEN Ghana take to the field for their opening match of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) soccer tournament against DR Congo at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday, Albert Adomah will be wearing his team’s iconic No 10 jersey.
The No 10 shirt has usually been reserved for Ghana’s captains until it was given to Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah when Stephen Appiah retired from international football.
More recently the proud wearer of the shirt was Andre Ayew, of Olympique Marseille, but a new recipient had to be found after Ayew was left out of the squad to travel to South Africa because of injury and failing to report for training at the team’s base in Abu Dhabi.
Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah said in a statement that his decision to exclude Ayew from his plans hinged on his inability to join the team in time.
“The decision to exclude Andre from the squad is as a result of his inability to join the team for Ghana’s team doctors to assess the extent of his injury and fitness for the tournament. I have decided to work only with the players currently in camp.”
All eyes will now be on Bristol City’s Adomah who has said the honour will not put extra pressure on him to excel.
Ghana are hunting for a fifth continental title and winger Adomah is expected to play a key role with his penetrative attacking runs.
“Numbers don’t matter. It is what you can do on the pitch and I am under no pressure,” Adomah said.
“I am a winner and I see it as a privilege to wear the number. It’s a privilege to play for my motherland.”
Adomah, who will be appearing at the Nations Cup in South Africa for the first time, said making the cut for the final squad was a dream come true.
“For me to be part of a tournament like this will bring a lot of tears to my mother,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ghana came back from being 2-0 down to beat Tunisia 4-2 in an Afcon warm-up in Abu Dhabi.
The Black Stars scored four goals in the second half to give their confidence a boost ahead of the tournament. The victory followed their 3-0 triumph over Egypt last week.
In the first half, Tunisia’s Issam Jemaa pounced on mistakes from the Ghana defence to score in the 16th and then just after halftime for 2-0.
But Ghana came roaring back and defender John Boye, Mubarak Wakaso, captain Asamoah Gyan and Albert Adomah all replied after the break, allowing Ghana to turn the game.
PE’s Afcon fixtures are as follows:
January 20: Ghana v DR Congo 5pm, Mali v Niger 8pm
January 24: Ghana v Mali 5pm, Niger v DR Congo 8pm
January 27: Cape Verde Islands v Angola
January 28: Niger v Ghana
February 2: winners Group B v runners-up Group A
February 9: Playoff for third place 8pm