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Africa Cup of Nations

Waris determined to make Africa Cup of Nations debut in 2019

12:41 GMT 01/01/2019
Abdul Majeed Waris | Ghana
The Nantes forward has set his sights on making James Kwesi Appiah's squad for the continental championship in June/July

Nantes striker Abdul Majeed Waris says he is focused on winning a place in Ghana's final squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Despite having been a regular in the Black Stars since making his international debut against Chile in 2012, the 27-year-old is still chasing his first appearance at the continental showpiece, having had previous opportunities scuppered by injuries.

This year, he faces competition from captain Asamoah Gyan, Crystal Palace man Jordan Ayew and Levante ace Emmanuel Boateng, all who seem to be ahead on coach James Kwesi Appiah's strikers' pecking order.

"My dream of playing at the Nations Cup's been on hold because I've been unfortunate with injuries in the past," Waris told BBC Sport.

"We have quality players in the national team and everyone will be fighting hard to earn a spot.

"There are six important months between now and the tournament, so the hard work starts when the season resumes in France.

"I have put the tough injury past behind me and I now play with so much positivity."

Waris' only tournament for Ghana remains the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil. However, his participation in the championship was almost destroyed by injury once again as he suffered a setback in Ghana's last warm-up fixture. Due to this, he only featured in the last game against Portugal as the Black Stars exited at the group stage.

"It's taken a lot out of me to truly understand my body and how to manage it after games," Waris explained.

"After playing at the World Cup, I'd love the opportunity to play for my country at such a big continental tournament.

"Now I play without any problems and hope it continues so I can get a chance to live this dream."

This season, Waris, on loan from Portuguese giants Porto, has scored three goals for Nantes in all competitions so far.

The Afcon will run between June 15 and July 13 in a yet-to-be-named country.