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Football | Afcon

Asamoah Gyan © Backpagepix

Ghana relying on Gyan again



Ghana will again be looking to striker Asamoah Gyan to rise to the big occasion at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

The goals of the former Udinese striker ensured the depleted Black Stars went all the way to the final of the 2010 Nations Cup in Angola.

And now Gyan has been made captain after he came out of self-imposed exile following the country's shock ouster by Zambia from the 2012 tournament in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea at the semifinals stage.

This will be the fourth Africa Cup finals appearance for 'Baby Jet' and with the Black Stars without Michael Essien, Andre Ayew, John Mensah, Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, Gyan leads the team.

Ghana won the last of four Nations Cup trophies in 1982 and 27-year-old Gyan says he now wishes to end the long wait for more silverware.

"We hope to end the long wait for a trophy in South Africa," declared Gyan after he was named captain in place of injury-prone Mensah last September.

But he is not underrating Ghana's first round opponents Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.

"It's not an easy group because any team who have got to this stage cannot be underrated," he cautioned.

"We faced Mali at the last tournament, while by qualifying for their second Nations Cup, Niger must be strong and are capable of creating upsets. We just have to remain focused and fight for the nation," said Gyan.

The signs are already good for the former striker of English Premier League club Sunderland as, unlike previous competitions, he is fit.

The Black Stars sweated over Gyan's fitness right into last year's tournament and it needed the unorthodox healing powers of a Serbian woman to get him back on his feet.

Another boost for Ghana is that he is enjoying a free-scoring run at his United Arab Emirate club Al Ain.

He has scored 21 goals in 13 matches in the first round of the UAE league and has admitted the pressure is on him to reproduce this form for his country.

"There might be pressure because people expect you to do more," he admitted.

"If you don't deliver, your form is due to luck and that is a challenge. Sometimes it puts pressure on me."

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