Predicting the Ghana Squad ahead of the Afcon
With the Africa Cup of Nations less than 2 months away, Goal Africa correspondent Ed Dove looks inside Kwesi Appiah’s mind to assess the likely makeup of the Black Stars squad come January.
Ghana’s Number 1: It’s hard to look too far beyond the Stromgodset man – an impressive Afcon could put a number of top European clubs on alert.
The Ashanti stopper has experience of the Cup of Nations, having travelled to the 2008 edition. After a competent performance against Cape Verde, he is likely to be included again this time around.
Ernest Sowah, Daniel Adjei
An early regular in Appiah’s squads, Sowah hasn’t been selected since the first leg against Malawi, whilst a recent recall for Liberty Professionals youngster Daniel Adjei suggests he may well be back in the boss’s plans.
Isaac Vorsah, John Boye, Harrison Afful
Appiah has some big decisions to make in defence, with many talented options. Three men who can be confident of their plane tickets are centreback partnership Isaac Vorsah and John Boye, as well as left back of choice, Harrison Afful. Whilst Vorsah’s fitness is a potential headache for Ghana selectors, if the centre back recovers from his recent injury woes, it is imperative that he travels.
Lee Addy, Jerry Akaminko, Jonathan Mensah, Sam Inkoom, John Mensah
Competition for defensive places is fierce, with several players optimistic of featuring, despite not currently being signed to a club, John Mensah is a comfortable bet to make the squad after being handed the ‘general captaincy’ role.
Inkoom appears favourite to take the right back spot, whilst Jonathan, Lee Addy, and in-form Jerry Akaminkolook likely to battle for the centre back berths.
John Paintsil, David Addy, Daniel Opare, Richard Boateng, Razak Nuhu
Portuguese-based David Addy has been welcomed back into the fold in recent times, and despite not yet realising the great promise he showed as a youngster, could one day be a serious option at left back. Opare’s versatility will be tempting for the coach, whilst John Paintsil offers experience, and will surely be hopeful after being recalled for the last two squads.
Boateng and Nuhuare youthful prospects that have integrated well into the squad under Appiah.
Nana Asare, Masahudu Alhassan, Mohamed Awal, Rashid Sumaila
After having been overlooked previously, Nana Asare was another to be recalled for the recent friendly against Cape Verde. Despite a solid performance against the islanders, it’s hard to imagine the Utrecht man forcing himself into the squad ahead of some of the aforementioned. A favourite of Goran Stefanovic, Alhassanfeatured at the last Afcon. Unfortunately, the youngster has been ignored ever since, and Appiah looks unlikely to recall him anytime soon.
Tony Annan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Emmanuel Badu, Atsu
This quadrant of midfield masters are the heart and soul of the Black Stars, and it would be almost impossible to envisage a successful Afcon campaign without their tenacity, touch, and talent. Any of the four could emerge as the tournament’s standout star.
Derek Boateng, Solomon Asante
Having been dropped unceremoniously from Ghana’s second leg bout against Malawi, Derek Boateng has a point to prove with the Black Stars. A recall for the Cape Verde friendly suggests the Dnipro man is still part of Appiah’s plans, and he is likely to have the chance to rediscover his previously imperious form for Ghana at the Afcon.
After fears over his eligibility to play for the Black Stars were cleared, Berekum Chelsea midfielder Asantehas been a regular feature in Appiah’s squads, suggesting his is in a good position to make the cut.
Alfriyie Acquah, Albert Adomah, Sulley Muntari, Mubarak Wakaso, Eddie Gyimah, Isaac Coffie, Laryea Kingston, Mohammed Rabiu,
With a number of midfield spots still up for grabs, several players are in with a shot at selection – many of whom offer the coach something different.
Sulley Muntari brings experience and a big game temperament, and should travel if he can overcome his recent injury-ravaged months.
One of the most intriguing candidates is Laryea Kingston. Once a national team regular, the midfielder’s stock has fallen following a disappointing time in Europe. Revitalised at Hearts of Oak, the veteran may well be capable of adding an extra dimension to the Black Stars.
Emmanuel Frimpong, Jebrin Torric, Frank Acheampong, Fred Duncan, Mohammed Abu
Acheampong made his Black Stars debut against China in August’s friendly, but has been overlooked ever since. At only 19 years of age, his time will come, but I imagine this Afcon will be a year or two too soon. Internazionale’s Fred Duncan is another who is likely to be kept waiting to make his Afcon impact – a debutant against Cape Verde, the Accra-born midfielder gave a competent display, but faces stiff competition for a place.
Emmanuel Frimpong’s rehabilitation continues following last season’s horrific knee injury. Recent displays in Arsenal cup ties have been promising, but this is a young midfielder trying to find his way back into the game, and despite recently receiving clearance to compete for the national side, his focus in January is likely to be a Championship campaign on loan with Charlton, rather than Black Stars progress in South Africa.
Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Asamoah Gyan
Reintegrated into the Black Stars fold, the Black Stars skipper Asamoah Gyan will be Ghana’s main frontman at the Afcon. Keen to exorcise the nightmarish campaign he endured last time around, and keen to win round Black Stars fans who doubted him, look for Babyjet to make a big impact.
Despite Appiah’s insistence that no one has a guaranteed spot in his final 23, it seems absurd to imagine the omission of the Ayew brothers, both of whom will be looking to cement themselves as true superstars on the continental stage.
Emmanuel Clottey, Richmond Boakye, Waris Majeed
Youngster Majeed is yet to find the net for the Black Stars in his handful of appearances, yet Appiah clearly sees something in the Tamale-born frontman who has been a regular in his squads. Whilst a lack of playing time at club level may count against the diminutive striker, his prolific time in Sweden with Hacken suggests he knows how to find the net.
Emmanuel Clottey and Richmond Boakye both offer exciting and effective, but very different styles of attack – both could be terrific options for the Black Stars, either from starting positions or off the bench.
Once the darling of Ghanaian football, Adiyiah’s fall from grace has been hugely disappointing for national selectors. The former Milan man has struggled to make a convincing case for his inclusion after initially being invited back into the action by the new boss.
Quincy, Prince Tagoe, Ricky Mpong
An early favourite of Appiah’s, Mpong has failed to hold down a squad place with the Black Stars, and an Afcon call up looks beyond him.
Quincy and Prince Tagoe have never had the chance to prove their capabilities under Appiah, and despite having scored previously for the Black Stars, are unlikely to be called upon.