“Winning the best player without the trophy is no achievement for me.”
The Black Stars have won the Africa Cup of Nations four times, but have not laid hands on the trophy for the past 35 years. The team narrowly missed out in the last edition when they lost to neighbours Ivory Coast on penalties in the final in Equatorial Guinea.
In the Aftermath of that final, Ghanaian players swept all the individual awards with Andre Ayew winning the top scorer award while Christian Atsu went home with the best player award.
However, the Newcastle winger – who agrees the 35-year trophy drought is worrying – insists he would prefer to win the trophy this time than any individual award.
”I know I did well for the team two years ago and won the best player, but this time around I want to help the team to win the trophy, winning the best player without the trophy is no achievement for me,” Atsu said in an interview with Starr Fm.
“So my main target is to help the team to win the title this time around, is been a long time we won the AFCON trophy.”
Ghana will play her tournament opener in group B against Uganda. The Cranes have been tough customers for the Black Stars in recent times – beating them in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and drawing in Tamale two months ago in the World Cup Qualifiers. And the Chelsea loanee sees the Cranes as no pushovers but believes the Black Stars have what it takes to secure the victory.
“Uganda Cranes are not an underdog anymore. They have played against all those teams in the group but we are not scared of them but they have a very good defensive set up which could worry us.
“They have a very good team both offensively and defensively. The Cranes qualified on merit, therefore, the players are working hard to get to the AFCON and are prepared to compete rather than participating.”
Ghana will be based in Port Gentil together with Egypt, Uganda and Mali for the tournament in Gabon which begins on January 14, 2017.