GHANA deputy captain, Andre Ayew says the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers remain the Black Stars’ immediate priority, amid a burning desire for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations title.
The Black Stars won their last of four AFCON trophies in 1982, and following a sour relationship with fans since the 2014 World Cup, the team have targeted the continental trophy in their bid to reunite with supporters.
The 2018 World Cup qualifiers begin in October this year, whereas the 2017 AFCON runs between January 14 and February 5 in Gabon.
“We have two World Cup qualifying games coming up, that’s our priority,” Ayew said.
“It’s a very important tournament, the best tournament in the world”.
“We’re going to try to get good results from these two games. From there, we will see [about] the Nations Cup. We will take it step by step.”
Ghana are in Group E, alongside Egypt, Congo and Uganda, in the African Zone qualifiers for the World Cup.
“This group is a tough group and it’s going to be very difficult to go through.”
“We all know that today’s football and the past are not the same.
“Today, all the teams have good players, good coaches and you cannot underrate any team.”
Ayew has earned 69 caps and scored 12 goals for Ghana.
Meanwhile, Jordan Ayew has also underscored the importance of winning the next AFCON to be staged in Gabon in January next year.
According to the Aston Villa and Black Stars striker, the players of the Black Stars understand what the competition means to the people of Ghana and know how they feel with the failure of the team to deliver the AFCON trophy in the past.
He told GHOne Sports, “I understand the anger of the fans. Our main target is to go to the tournament to try everything we can to bring the trophy home. When it comes to Ghana, I think everything would be fine and we’ll get the support of the entire nation for the World Cup”.
He stressed on the difficulty in playing matches before a sparse crowd, knowing one is playing a home game and expects the stadium to be filled to capacity.
“It is difficult for us the players because we need the fans to push us to our maximum and without the fans, we can’t do that.”
“We know what we have to do; we just have to bring the trophy home. I think when we bring the trophy home, things will be smooth and everything will be fine”,the 24-year-old said.