Jan 9 (Reuters) - Factbox on African Nations Cup qualifiers Ghana.
African Nations Cup record
Previous appearances in finals: (20) 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015.
Best performance: Winners 1963, 1965, 1978, 1982
Drawn in Group D with Egypt, Mali and Uganda.
Coach: Avram Grant
The former Chelsea manager was appointed Ghana’s coach just a few weeks before the last Nations Cup and celebrated his 60th birthday at the tournament by taking the side to the final, where they narrowly lost on penalties to the Ivory Coast.
Grant had four years as coach of his native Israel’s national team between 2002 and 2006 before moving to Chelsea, initially as director of football but then manager after the departure of Jose Mourinho.
His side lost in a penalty shootout to Manchester United in the 2007 Champions League final.
He has since worked at Portsmouth, West Ham United, Partizan Belgrade and in Thailand.
One point from two matches in 2018 World Cup qualification means Grant’s job is on the line if Ghana do not perform well in Gabon.
Key player: Asamoah Gyan. Age: 31. Forward.
For all his goal scoring acumen, Gyan is most renowned for squandering a last gasp penalty in extra time of the quarter-final against Uruguay in 2010 that cost Ghana a chance to become the first African side to reach the last four of a World Cup.
He scored the fastest goal of the 2006 World Cup.
Gyan’s decision to leave Sunderland for the riches of the United Arab Emirates in 2011 drew criticism from those who believed he was wasting his talent.
He is back there after a lucrative spell in China.
FIFA world ranking Dec. 2016: 53
How they qualified: First place in Group H, ahead of Mozambique, Rwanda and Mauritius.
Goalkeepers: Razak Brimah (Cordoba), Fatau Dauda (Enyimba), Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars)
Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City), John Boye (Sivasspor), Edwin Gyimah (Orlando Pirates), Jonathan Mensah (Anzhi Makhachkala), Baba Rahman (Schalke 04), Andy Yiadom (Barnsley)
Midfielders: Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht), Afriyie Acquah (Torino), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Christian Atsu (Newcastle United), Ebenezer Ofori (AIK Stockholm), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid), Samuel Tetteh (Leifering), Mubarak Wakaso (Panathinaikos)
Forwards: Ebenezer Assifuah (Sion), Andre Ayew (West Ham United), Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa), Asamoah Gyan (Al Ahli), Bernard Tekpetey (Schalke 04). (Compiled by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town,; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)