Ghanaians often fret when reminded about how long the Black Stars last won the Africa Cup of Nations. Yes, 31 years ago.
Almost all of Ghana's present squad - with the exception of John Paintsil - for this month's finals in South Africa were not born when Emmanuel Quarshie captained the Black Stars to win their last title in 1982.
Different generations have tried and come close but Ghana still waits with bated breath. Another opportunity to end the long wait is now here as Asamoah Gyan leads the Black Stars to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Whatever the disappointments of the last three decades, it would be unfair to underestimate the efforts of the current side.
“I’m very hopeful we can break the jinx and end the long wait for the African title,” said Gyan, who at 27 is among the band of twenty-two players in the squad now who were unborn when Ghana last won the title.
Gyan will be making his fourth successive appearance at the Nations Cup but cups have proved harder to come by just like goals. He has scored only five goals in the finals so far.
“I’m not disturbed because my ratio of goals with the national team is impressive,” he said.
“It is natural people expect you to score as striker, but it is not always so. Sometimes you have to create the chances for others to also score. I always do my best to help the team to victory.”
The campaign in South Africa starts in Group B for Gyan and his Black Stars teammates who must deal with the threats of Mali, Congo DR and Niger.
For the Ghana captain, it will not be easy getting out of the group stages.
“No team can be underrated at this level. All four sides in the group are strong contenders. We played Mali at the 2012 edition and saw their performance. Niger, though not a big team, has a strong side and can always cause an upset.” he said.
Gyan has had some rough patches along the road with the national team before being named captain last year, succeeding John Mensah.
After last year's tournament staged in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Gyan took a break from international football and returned four months later.
Having played under a host of captains including Stephen Appiah and [John] Mensah, Gyan believes learning off them will be beneficial to the group.
“I have so much respect for Appiah. He was such a great leader on both ends - on and off the pitch - and so was Mensah. They taught me a lot and with the support of my colleagues, we should deliver the ultimate,” he said.
Gyan might be maturing into the Ghana's captain and leader but ending the trophy wait might set him apart.