Ghana's skipper, Andre Ayew, has been ruled out of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Angola, following a knee injury sustained during training on Thursday.
According to the Ghana Football Association (GFA), the experienced 33-year-old suffered the injury after slipping on his way to the dressing room.
In a statement on its website, the GFA said per the findings of an MRI scan, Ayew will have to return to his club for further treatment. Consequently, he will not be joining the team for the return leg scheduled for Monday in Luanda.
In addition to Ayew's absence, Ghana will also miss the services of Alexander Djiku, Mohammed Salisu and Denis Odoi, who were not included in the travelling squad due to their respective injuries. The Ghana Football Association has extended its best wishes to them for a quick recovery.
Ayew was omitted from Ghana's 21-man squad in their recent 1-0 victory over Angola at the Baba Yara Stadium. The 33-year-old forward sat on the substitutes bench while Arsenal's Thomas Partey took on the captaincy.
Ghana's head coach, Chris Hughton, justified his decision by stating that difficult choices must be made, and while Ayew's talents are recognized, the rest of the squad also possess remarkable abilities.
Hughton reiterated that Ayew remains an important member of the team, and the decision not to play him does not undermine his capabilities.
"As a head coach, you have to make difficult decisions. You know the quality that Andre possesses, but you also know the quality of the rest of the squad," Hughton said.
"Ultimately, it was my choice not to play him, but that doesn't reflect on his abilities as a player. He remains a valuable member of the team."
The Black Stars will be travelling to Luanda on Saturday afternoon, ahead of the upcoming match on March 27, 2023.