(Sporting Alert) — Ghana could be without captain Asamoah Gyan for Monday’s Africa Cup of Nations clash with Senegal at Estadio de Mongomo.
The Ghana Football Association reports that Gyan has not trained with his teammates for the past two days after “suffering from a mild bout of malaria,” which could force him out of Monday’s Group C contest.
Head coach Avram Grant says a decision over whether the forward is fit enough to play in the group opener will be made on game day.
“We will have to wait until tomorrow to see if Gyan can make the game,” Grant said at his press conference.
“He is a very important player for us, with everything he has done for the Black Stars, so of course we would like him to play.
“If it is not the case it will be a little bit harder for us but we will our best without him.”
It is understood that doctors will continue to monitor Gyan’s progress — revealing that the former Sunderland striker has been responding well to his treatment.
Ghana will start as one of the favourites to lift this year’s Africa Cup of Nations trophy, but the Black Stars aren’t getting too carried away and are preparing to take “one game at a time.”
“We have lots of young players and I wouldn’t say we are here to win the trophy. We’ll go one game at a time,” Andre Ayew told reporters ahead of the game on Sunday.
“In 2010 we got to the final not long after winning the under-20 World Cup (in 2009), we went into the tournament full of confidence.”
Meanwhile, Senegal head coach Alain Giresse will also wait to decide on whether forward Sadio Mane can play after the Southampton player picked up a calf injury on club duty.
“If he will not be able to play the first match, it will be the second if not the third,” Giresse said.
“We’ll see the progress he will make.”
The other game in Group C will see Algeria taking on South Africa as both try to win early points in what is expected to be a very difficult group.
South Africa and Algeria have met twice before in the Africa Cup of Nations, with the Bafana Bafana winning one and drawing the other in 1996 and 2000 and they are confident about playing good football at the tournament.
“I believe we can hold our own against the much-fancied Algeria,” defender Anele Ngcongca said.
“We are all aware that for the two teams it’s a crucial game and both want to start well. The squad that we have now has got fire in their eyes and the energy they have is unbelievable.
“We are all looking forward to this tournament and I think we can surprise a lot of teams.”
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Ghana vs Senegal at 10:00 AM ET
Algeria vs South Africa at 2:00 PM ET