PARIS (AFP) – Ghana have dropped Marseille’s highly-prized winger Andre Ayew from their squad for the Africa Cup of Nations starting in South Africa next week, coach Kwesi Appiah announced on Monday.
“I have decided to exclude Andre from the Ghana squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations,” Appiah confirmed in a statement on the Ghana Football Association’s website.
The loss of Ayew — a son of former African Footballer of the Year Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew — is a massive blow as Ghana seek a first Cup of Nations title since defeating hosts Libya on penalties in Tripoli 31 years ago.
Ayew picked up a hamstring injury last week, forcing him to miss Marseille’s French Cup game against Guingamp on Sunday.
Appiah added: “Following Andre’s inability to join the Black Stars squad by Monday morning 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.
“I have personally explained the rationale behind the decision to Andre and I will continue to count on him in future matches if he is fit.”
Ghana are in Group B in the January 19-February 10 competition, alongside Mali, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ayew was part of the ‘Black Stars’ squad that flopped at the 2012 tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, suffering a surprise semi-final loss to eventual winners Zambia and failing again in a play-off against Mali for third place.
Ghana have already suffered the defection of striker Yahaya Mohammed who was forced to pull out with a groin injury.