Ghana: Dropping Andre Ayew Was Difficult Decision - Otto Addo

The Black Stars Head Coach, Otto Addo, says the decision to leave out skipper of the team, Andre 'Dede' Ayew, from his team for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) was a difficult one.

Ayew, the most capped Ghanaian player with 120 appearances for the team since 2007, was left out of a 26-man squad for next month's FIFA World Cup doubleheader.

Responding to questions after announcing the squad yesterday, Coach Addo noted that the decision to leave the skipper out was one of the most difficult ones to take.

"I had a long talk with Dede Ayew. I visited him and gave him reasons why he is not in my squad at the moment."

"It is very difficult to leave him out but at the end, it's me as the coach who has to take decisions and those decisions must be the best for the team."

"Personally, I like Dede as a person and also as a player, but this is a decision we took and not one he totally agreed," he said.

The former Borussia Dortmund player and coach described the 34-year-old as a living legend who has done a lot for Ghana, holding the record as Ghana's most capped international.

Andre Ayew, inked his name in Africa Cup of Nations history at the just ended AFCON in Cote d'Ivoire, becoming only the third player to participate in eight editions of the tournament after Cameroonian, Rigobert Song, and Egyptian Ahmed, Hassan.

Additionally, he said as the new coachof the Black Stars, "I am looking forward to the next round of World Cup qualifiers which is a very difficult one, especially as Ghana trail leaders, Comoros, who are on six points followed by Mali on four points and Madagascar on three points."

"It is a tough situation but I look forward to these games."

"Ghana football stands for good football; it is difficult to promise victories because in football you can be better than your opponents but at the end, one slip and you concede a goal."

"I want to promise you that we would play good football because I have been studying football for a very long time. I know Ghanaians like to play with the ball a lot, this is how they grow up when playing on the street and this is what I want to implement," he added.

The 26-man squad will begin camping from today at the University of Ghana Stadium for the next six-days before departing for Bamako on Tuesday to face the Eagles.

The squad

Goalkeepers: Lawrence Ati-Zigi (St Gallen), Jojo Wollacot (Hibernian FC), Frederick Asare (Asante Kotoko).

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