Ghana's Annan wants to play on in memory of late mother

Ghana midfielder Anthony Annan
Anthony Annan will play on in honour of his late mother's memory

Ghana midfielder Anthony Annan will not return home from the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea despite the death of his mother.

Annan lost his mother on Thursday but has opted to remain with Ghana for Sunday's quarter-final tie against Tunisia in Franceville.

Annan's mother, Sophia Sampson, died after a brief illness, reports say.

"Winning the title would serve as a big honour in memory of my mother," said the 25-year-old.

"I am saddened by the death of my mother but I am still focused and committed to going out there to play for my nation and help win the Africa Cup of Nations title."

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) says on its website that Annan's mother died on Thursday night after falling ill earlier in the day.

The GFA said members of Ghana's squad were "stunned'' by the news and were consoling Annan.

"We have spoken with Anthony and his family back in Ghana to offer our support at this very difficult time," said GFA chairman Kwesi Nyantakyi in a statement.

"As Anthony has decided not to leave the Nations Cup to go home, the GFA, coaches, players and staff will continue to offer him our constant support."

The diminutive Annan has started every match for the Black Stars in their march to the last eight of this year's Nations Cup.

He is currently on loan at Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem from German Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04.