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Gyan: Black Stars skipper

Gyan: Black Stars skipper

Ghana begin the quest to end their 31-year drought in the Africa Cup of Nations when they kick-off Group B against the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday evening.

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The Black Stars last lifted the continental crown in 1982, and have since finished as runners-up on two different occasions, most recently at the 2010 showpiece in Angola, while the 2012 installment saw them finish in fourth place.

The African giants have been in fine form during their pre-tournament matches, having whipped Egypt 3-0 before coming from two goals down to convincingly beat fellow AFCON 2013 participants Tunisia 4-2 in their most recent encounter.

Kwesi Appiah is sweating on the fitness of four players ahead of this weekend's tie, with Isaac Vorsah, Anthony Annan, Rabiu Mohammed and Albert Adomah all set for late tests after picking up injuries during the team's training camp in Abu Dhabi.

Asamoah Gyan is set to take up the captain's armband for the team, but will not involve himself in any penalty taking responsibilities after his mother asked him not to just two weeks before she passed away in November.

One of the striker's most notable spot-kick failures came in the 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Uruguay when he blazed wide to deny his side a place in the history books at the first African team to make the semis.

The Leopards, meanwhile, were handed a mammoth blow on the eve of the tournament after coach Claude Le Roy handed in his resignation due to the reported mismanagement of the team.

That means assistant coach Maxwell Konadu is likely to take up the reins for their Group B opener, and will decide the first starting XI, which might include uncapped Peterborough player Gabriel Zakuani, who was a late call-up to the squad.

Another big boost to the team is the return of Lomana LuaLua, who is set to captain the side on Sunday.

Posted: 18/01/13 11:18

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