A first-half penalty from West Ham forward Andre Ayew proved enough to give Ghana a 1-0 victory over Uganda in their African Nations Cup Group D opener at Port Gentil.
The Black Stars, who were beaten on penalties by Ivory Coast in the 2015 final, had the better of the first half, going ahead on 32 minutes when Ayew converted from the spot after Asamoah Gyan had been hauled down.
Uganda, who have qualified for the finals for the first time since 1978, were much improved after the break but could not conjure an equaliser.
After Uganda midfielder Tonny Mawejje fired in early warning shot from a tight angle on the left, Ghana were soon on the offensive.
Captain Gyan glanced a header just wide before Ayew's goal-bound effort was saved after being picked out in the penalty area following a break down the right by his brother Jordan Ayew, the Aston Villa forward.
Just after the half-hour mark, Uganda gifted Ghana a penalty when defender Isaac Isinde lost possession and then pulled down Gyan as the Al-Ahli Dubai forward broke in the right side of the area. Andre Ayew made no mistake from the spot.
The Cranes, who held Ghana to a goalless draw in their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Tamale during October, had a chance to go into the break level but Standard Liege midfielder Faruku Miya saw his angled drive hit the outside of the post.
Uganda regrouped following a couple of changes and on 64 minutes, Joseph Ochaya's angled 20-yard drive flew wide before Miya's effort was saved.
Avram Grant's side could have snatched a late second when Christian Atsu cut into the penalty area, but the Newcastle midfielder's snap-shot was beaten away by Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango.