Ghana winger Ayew out of African Cup of Nations
Marseille winger Andre Ayew will not play at the African Cup of Nations after being excluded from Ghana's squad by coach Kwesi Appiah for not reporting to a training camp to have an injury assessed.
Appiah said in a statement Monday that he had decided ''to work only with the players currently in camp'' and Ayew wouldn't be considered for the final 23-man squad because of uncertainty over the extent of the hamstring injury he sustained with his French club.
Ghana's coach wanted the 23-year-old Ayew, one of the country's best players and an African footballer of the year nominee last year, to report to the pre-tournament camp in United Arab Emirates by Saturday to see Ghana's medical team. He was then given an extended deadline to arrive by Monday.
Appiah said the player had still not reported to the camp in Abu Dhabi by Monday morning and would not arrive in time to have his fitness assessed before Wednesday's deadline for squads to be named for the Jan. 19-Feb. 10 African Cup in South Africa.
''Unfortunately, Andre failed to report to camp and indicated that owing to the treatment he was receiving from his doctor he would report to camp on Wednesday,'' Appiah said. ''In line with my vision of taking only fit players for the Africa Cup of Nations, I have decided ... to work only with the players currently in camp.''
Appiah said he had ''personally explained the rationale behind the decision to Andre'' and ''will continue to count on him in future matches if he is fit.''
There was no immediate reaction from the player.
The Ghana FA did not immediately comment on what Ayew's current location might be and whether he has tried to join up with the squad.
Marseille said on its website Monday that it expects Ayew will now join up with the rest of the squad in Marrakech, Morroco, where the French side is scheduled to play a friendly match against local club Kawkab on Wednesday ahead of Sunday's league match at Sochaux.
Ayew was Ghana's player of the year for 2011, is one of the team's playmakers and the son of Abedi Pele, the West African nation's greatest and most respected footballer.
Appiah said Ayew did not report to the camp despite being released by his club to meet the Saturday deadline set down by FIFA for internationals to join up with their national teams ahead of the Cup of Nations. Ayew had told the GFA he was being treated by his own doctor, Appiah said.
''All the players were given the deadline of Saturday to report to camp in Abu Dhabi,'' Appiah said in his written statement. ''Unfortunately Andre did not turn up despite being released by his club and air tickets provided by the GFA for him to travel from France.''
Ayew's absence will hamper four-time African champion Ghana in its attempt to end a 30-year wait for a continental title. Ayew has already appeared in three African Cups and scored two goals in last year's tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea before Ghana was beaten narrowly in the semifinals by eventual winner Zambia.
Ghana is grouped with Congo, Mali and Niger at the tournament in South Africa and opens its tournament against Congo on Jan. 20. Ghana is a leading contender to win the title.