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Black Stars coach Chris Hughton has defended his decision to bench captain Andre Ayew for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Angola.

The 33-year-old watched on from the sidelines while his Premier League counterpart Thomas Partey captained the team to victory at the Baba Yara Stadium, thanks to a late strike from Antoine Semenyo.

Speaking after the game, Hughton who was relieved by the result acknowledged the qualities of the Nottingham Forest man but indicated such choices were part of the coach’s job description.

“This is the choice you have as a head coach. You know the quality that Andre has you also know the quality that I like to think the squad have…so these are very difficult decisions for me; certainly, nothing to read into that. He is, has been, and is still a very good player it was just my choice,” he said.

Andre Ayew who looked unperturbed by the coach’s decision cheered on massively from the bench and congratulated Semenyo and the rest of the team after the final whistle.

The win now puts Ghana three points clear on top of the second-placed Central African Republic in Group E.

The team will travel to Angola for their next game on Monday, March 27, knowing a victory will secure them a place in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.