Ghana captain Ayew on team’s chances at Qatar World Cup

Doha, Qatar – Ghana’s national football team captain Andre Ayew is confident that the Black Stars will be a tough team to beat at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on November 20.

The Ghana squad has to be fit in order to put on the performance he’s hoping for, Ayew, who plays for Al Sadd football club in Qatar’s capital Doha, emphasised.

After missing the 2018 tournament, the Black Stars qualified for this year’s event, where they are in the same group as South Korea, Portugal and Uruguay, the team that knocked them out of the 2010 edition in South Africa.

Al Jazeera spoke to Ayew about the national side’s preparation, chances and expectations, as well as the benefit of his experience playing in Qatar.

Al Jazeera: The World Cup is less than two months away. How is the Black Stars’ preparation?

Ayew: Everything is in place for us to have a successful World Cup. We must have the best preparation possible but, most importantly, all of your players must be fit at that time. We played Brazil, we’ll play Nicaragua and Switzerland before the World Cup. They are all big games that will be tough even though they are friendlies.

These matches are beneficial because we put ourselves to the test and come back as a team to maintain bonding and unity. Normally, we have two to three weeks before the World Cup, but this time we only have about nine days. It’s not ideal but we have to adapt.

Ghana is one of five teams to have qualified from Africa for the World Cup [Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters]
Al Jazeera: What are Ghana’s chances of reaching the knockout stage from the so-called “Group of Death”?

Ayew: We have a chance. Nobody sees us as favourites, which is expected. So we know we’re not going into any of the matches as favourites but we’re there to fight and make an impact. No doubt it will be a very difficult group for every team and all we have to do is be ready, focused, determined, full squad and have a bit of luck.

If we have our full squad, we can seriously disrupt a lot of teams. I am not concerned because I know what Ghana is capable of.

Al Jazeera: Will the game between Ghana and Uruguay be a revenge mission after the heartbreak of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa?

Ayew: As team leader, I don’t believe we should view this game as revenge. Instead, we must be smart enough to recognise that it is a match we need points from. We can’t ignore history, but what Luis Suarez [Uruguay footballer] did is something I could have done in the same situation [used his hand to stop a goal-bound shot in 2010]. It hurt us all. But that’s part of football and it happened years ago.

We just want to win against Uruguay after everything that has been said in the media. As a player, if you go into a game with the intent of retaliation, you can make a lot of mistakes and be hyper. We just need to stay calm, follow the plan and try to win the game, or do whatever we can to advance to the next stage.Doha, Qatar – Ghana’s national football team captain Andre Ayew is confident that the Black Stars will be a tough team to beat at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar on November 20.

The Ghana squad has to be fit in order to put on the performance he’s hoping for, Ayew, who plays for Al Sadd football club in Qatar’s capital Doha, emphasised.

After missing the 2018 tournament, the Black Stars qualified for this year’s event, where they are in the same group as South Korea, Portugal and Uruguay, the team that knocked them out of the 2010 edition in South Africa.

Al Jazeera spoke to Ayew about the national side’s preparation, chances and expectations, as well as the benefit of his experience playing in Qatar.

Al Jazeera: The World Cup is less than two months away. How is the Black Stars’ preparation?

Ayew: Everything is in place for us to have a successful World Cup. We must have the best preparation possible but, most importantly, all of your players must be fit at that time. We played Brazil, we’ll play Nicaragua and Switzerland before the World Cup. They are all big games that will be tough even though they are friendlies.

These matches are beneficial because we put ourselves to the test and come back as a team to maintain bonding and unity. Normally, we have two to three weeks before the World Cup, but this time we only have about nine days. It’s not ideal but we have to adapt.

Ghana is one of five teams to have qualified from Africa for the World Cup [Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters]
Al Jazeera: What are Ghana’s chances of reaching the knockout stage from the so-called “Group of Death”?

Ayew: We have a chance. Nobody sees us as favourites, which is expected. So we know we’re not going into any of the matches as favourites but we’re there to fight and make an impact. No doubt it will be a very difficult group for every team and all we have to do is be ready, focused, determined, full squad and have a bit of luck.

If we have our full squad, we can seriously disrupt a lot of teams. I am not concerned because I know what Ghana is capable of.

Al Jazeera: Will the game between Ghana and Uruguay be a revenge mission after the heartbreak of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa?

Ayew: As team leader, I don’t believe we should view this game as revenge. Instead, we must be smart enough to recognise that it is a match we need points from. We can’t ignore history, but what Luis Suarez [Uruguay footballer] did is something I could have done in the same situation [used his hand to stop a goal-bound shot in 2010]. It hurt us all. But that’s part of football and it happened years ago.

We just want to win against Uruguay after everything that has been said in the media. As a player, if you go into a game with the intent of retaliation, you can make a lot of mistakes and be hyper. We just need to stay calm, follow the plan and try to win the game, or do whatever we can to advance to the next stage.

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