Togo v Ghana: Atsu calls for togetherness after slow start
After their disappointing display at the World Cup in Brazil, which saw them take just one point from three games, Saturday's clash with Uganda should have provided the first shoots of recovery for Kwesi Appiah's men but they were held to a 1-1 draw.
With some sections of the crowd expressing dissatisfaction at the result in Kumasi, the pressure is on Appiah to turn Ghana's fortunes around when they travel to Lome for their second game in Group E.
The head coach is set to be joined on the coaching staff by a technical advisor to give Ghana the best chance of reaching the finals in Morocco next year.
Victories in their last two matches against Togo will give Ghana - four-time winners of the competition - a lift heading into the clash and Atsu is sure that they are not far away from returning to form.
"We have just started the qualification," the Chelsea winger, currently on loan at Everton, said after Saturday's draw. "The last [game] is always more important than the first.
"We are still on course. Things will get better for the Black Stars.
"We need the fans. We apologise to them that things went wrong in Brazil. If they want the country to move forward they should not look at what happened in Brazil but look into the future."
Togo coach Tchakala Tchanile is not under the same pressure to get a result as his opposite number, despite overseeing an opening-game loss.
The 46-year-old replaced Didier Six in June but even the return of Emmanuel Adebayor could not stop Togo falling to a 2-1 defeat against Guinea.
Tchanile will hope to chalk up his first win at the helm as Togo, who reached the last eight in South Africa in 2013, look to get off the mark.
Even though the qualifying campaign is only in its infancy, a second successive defeat could leave Tchanile's side in serious trouble if they want to reach consecutive finals for the first time since 2002.