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— Calls Sarfo, Cobbinah among TEN debutantes
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has caused a major shock by dropping several regular players including Mubarak Wakaso and Christian Atsu while naming Swedish league superstar Kingsley Sarfo among ten debutantes for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Razak Brimah and Edwin Gyimah were also axed from the 30-man-squad that has been called to also play in the friendlies against USA and Mexico.
Jerry Akaminko, Rashid Sumaila and Mohammed Abu all return have all been recalled after some long absence, reviving their international careers.
In-form strikers Abdul-Majeed Waris and Raphael Dwamena who were ignored for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations by previous coach Avram Grant were also recalled.
Among the other players who have been handed their debut call-ups are Germany-based left-back Lumor Agbenyenu, tough-tackling Turkey-based midfielder Isaac Sackey and former Ghana youth team captain Thomas Agyepong who plays for Dutch side NAC Breda.
However other top players in the team Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey Daniel Amartey and Jordan Ayew were among the many regular players retained in thew squad.
True to his promise that several players in the local league will be given the chance to play in the Black Stars under his reign, coach Kwesi Appiah called SEVEN players from various clubs in the domestic competition with Hearts of Oak hot-shot Winful Cobbinah leading the contingent from Ghana top-flight.
This represents the highest number of players from the local league called into the national team in over ten years with the serving police officer Samuel Sarfo of Liberty Professionals among the home-based players.
Of the local-based players three are goalkeepers with Richard Ofori of Wa All Stars, Felix Annan of Kotoko and Aduana Stars shot-stopper joining Denmark-based Adam Kwarasey as the only foreign-based keeper in the squad.
Other players from the local league include Daniel Darkwah of Aduana and Berekum Chelsea centre-back Nocholas Opoku.
The decision to drop Wakaso, Atsu, Badu and Razak shows that Appiah is fulfilling another promise of creating competition in the squad by giving the chance for the other players to showcase their talents.
The match against Ethiopia will be the right platform to give the chance to the other players on the periphery of the squad as these top players could return for tougher matches.
The squad also show much preference for players playing regularly as most of the players in the squad are regular starters for their clubs.
The AFCON qualifier has been scheduled for Sunday June 11 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
The team will travel two weeks later to the United States of America where the Black Stars will face Mexico in Houston, Texas on June 28 and USA in Connecticut on July 1.
The team is expected to assemble in Accra on next Monday to begin preparations for next month’s assignments.
Below is the 30-man squad:
Richard Ofori (Wa Allstars), Adam Kwarasey (Brondby, Denmark), Felix Annan (Kotoko), Joseph Addo (Aduana Stars)
Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England)
Lumor Agbenyenu (Munich 1860, Germany), Daniel Darkwah (Aduana Stars, Ghana), John Boye (Sivasspor, Turkey), Rashid Sumalia (Al Gharafa, Qatar), Nicholas Opoku (B.Chelsea, Ghana), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew, USA)
Jerry Akaminko ( Eskiserhispor, Turkey), Samuel Sarfo (Liberty, Ghana)
Mohammed Abu (Columbus Crew, USA), Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy), Isaac Sackey (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Ebenezer Ofori (Stuttgart, Germany), Kingsley Sarfo (Sirius, Sweden), Winful Cobbinah (Hearts of Oak), Yaw Yeboah (FC Twente, Holland), Godsway Donyoh (Nordjaelland, Denmark), Andre Ayew (West Ham, England), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), Thomas Agyepong (NAC Breda, Holland)
Asamoah Gyan (Al Alhi, UAE), Jordan Ayew (Swansea City, England), Majeed Waris (Lorient FC, France), Raphael Dwamena (FC Zurich, Switzerland)