André Ayew's Ghana qualify for 2017 Africa Cup of Nations

The Swansea City man scored and wore the captain's armband as the Black Stars secured qualification.

André Ayew's Ghana qualify for 2017 Africa Cup of Nations
Ayew was delighted to help his nation reach another edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. (Photo: GFA)

Swansea City's André Ayew last night captained Ghana to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, with a 2-0 victory over Mauritius sealing qualification.

Ayew scored in the win too, breaking the deadlock on 71 minutes before Chelsea's Christian Atsu doubled the lead just seven minutes later to put the game to bed.

After finishing as runners-up in 2015, losing to the Ivory Coast on penalties, the Black Stars will be raring to go in the 2017 edition, and will hope to take momentum into the campaign after a so-far-unbeaten run in qualifying.

Ghana are just the fifth nation to have already qualified for the competition, joining Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon and Egypt in the list of teams able to now set their sights on preparation for next year's tournament.

Jonathan Mensah consoles André Ayew as Ghana lose out to the Ivory Coast in the 2015 AFCON final. (Photo: Liewig Christian/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jonathan Mensah consoles André Ayew as Ghana lose out to the Ivory Coast in the 2015 AFCON final. (Photo: Liewig Christian/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ayew positive ahead of fifth AFCON

Granted the honour of captaining his nation again in the absence of Asamoah Gyan through injury, Ayew really stepped up to the mark yesterday and was pleased with the outcome.

Speaking to the media after the match, Ayew described the result as "a great victory" as well as "a big motivation" for the team heading into next year's AFCON, which will be hosted by Gabon.

"We worked hard and won," he added, as he prepares to represent Ghana for the fifth time in the competition, having finished as top-scorer in 2015's edition.

The 26-year-old will hope to use his past experiences to rally the Black Stars to a fifth title in Gabon too, having finished as runner-up twice in his four appearances at the finals.

As well as last year's disappointment, Ayew was a finalist in 2010 when Egypt emerged 1-0 winners - former Hull City man Gedo scoring a dramatic 85th minute winner.

He will be hoping to avoid similar disappointment - for the third time in five editions - in 2017.