Ghana coach Chris Hughton acknowledges a 40-year Africa Cup of Nations title drought has left fans hungry for success, but he remains wary of the threats posed by rival nations.
The Black Stars have not won the Afcon since 1982 but will be among the favourites when the 2023 edition kicks off in Ivory Coast in January.
A talented squad including Arsenal’s Thomas Partey and Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus has raised optimism of Ghana finally going all the way.
However, Hughton is adamant the competition will be fiercely contested. “The level of teams in Africa is as strong as it’s ever been,” he insisted.
“There are so many more players at big European clubs which makes the Afcon tougher and more exciting for everybody.”
Hughton specifically highlighted likely challengers like Senegal, Egypt, Morocco and Cameroon.
With Ghana drawn against Egypt in the group stage, their credentials will be quickly tested.
But after coming agonisingly close in 2010 and 2015 by reaching the final, Hughton knows the weight of expectation from success-starved fans.
With a squad blending elite talents and emerging stars, the pressure is on to finally satiate an Afcon title hunger four decades in the making.