Andre Dede Ayew, captain of Ghana’s Black Stars, etched his name in Africa Cup of Nations history on Sunday, becoming only the third player to participate in eight editions of the tournament.
He entered the field as a substitute in the 62nd minute of Ghana’s unfortunate 1-2 defeat to Cape Verde.
Prior to the tournament, Ayew, at 33, expressed his willingness to contribute even if starting opportunities were limited.
Ayew’s arrival replaced Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer, six minutes after Alexander Djiku’s equalizer brought Ghana level, following Jamiro Monteiro’s first-half strike for Cape Verde.
With this appearance, Ayew joins the elite company of retired AFCON winners Cameroonian Rigobert Song and Egyptian Ahmed Hassan as the players with the most AFCON appearances.
However, the celebratory mood was short-lived for Ayew and the Black Stars as Garry Rodrigues’ late goal snatched all three points for the Blue Sharks, leaving Ghana to grapple with a disappointing start to their campaign.
“My priority is to either start or come off the bench in the Ivory Coast,” he stated. “After that, let us see what happens. What is most important is that Ghana do well in this competition as we had a bad 2022 Cup of Nations, going out after the first round.”
Despite the defeat, Ayew still has the chance to etch his name even deeper in the AFCON record books. He stands on the cusp of becoming the first player to score in seven editions of the tournament, sharing the current record of six with compatriot Asamoah Gyan and African legends Kalusha Bwalya and Samuel Eto’o.
Ghana will seek redemption on Thursday when they face record seven-time champions Egypt in a crucial Group B clash.