Christian Atsu, then a month old baby had no clue what the expectation of the nation was when Ghana lost on penalties in the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations final.
Twenty-one years on, he has ensured that the desires of his formative years have been carried through as he has grown to become aware of that huge expectation.
Atsu is now part of a new generation of Black Stars players trying to end that painful episode in the nation's footballing history when Ghana lost out 10-11 to Ivory Coast in Senegal.
Making his Nations Cup debut at the 2013 Nations Cup, the young winger turned on a show when he scored his first goal at the tournament and helped Ghana progress to the quarter-finals.
“I am eagerly happy to help my national team to the highest level. I am always prepared to play for the Black Stars and my nation,” an excited Atsu said a day after he grabbed his debut goal at the tournament.
“It’s a great honour to play for the Black Stars and it has always been my dream to play at the African Cup, not only to play, but to do win.”
He capped his debut goal with the man-of-the-match prize in Ghana's final group game against Niger, which they won 3-0 in Port Elizabeth.
“I was very happy when I was voted man-of-the-match. It wasn't an easy game. The most important thing is that the team won and Ghanaians were very happy.”
“[Being] voted man-of-the-match in my first tournament with the Black Stars is a great achievement for me as a young player,” the 21 year-old player said.
Despite the personal accolade, there is a humility to Atsu, who is quick to credit his teammates for their collective effort.
“The team helped me so much,” he said.
“The team worked for me and we had a lot of possession which is very important for a winger not to defend much but to get the strength to attack.”
It's been 31 years since Ghana last won the final with lots of near misses in previous competitions.
With a goal to his name, Atsu hopes the Black Stars can work towards their ultimate goal this time round.
“I hope as the tournament goes on, we will work together as we all expect.”
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