A 19-man contingent of the Black Meteors side together with their technical team led by head coach Ibrahim Tanko will fly out today to the North African country of Egypt for this year’s Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations which begins from Friday, November 8-23.
The squad, made up of 12 foreign-based and nine home-based players will be joined in Egypt by two strikers Ropapa Mensah of Nashville SC in the United State of America and Kwabena Owusu of Spanish Segunda División side Cordoba CF to complete the 21-man list for the tournament.
The team is making its maiden appearance at the tournament after failing to make it to the first two editions of the tournament which also serves as qualifiers for next year’s multi-sports event the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The local component of the team has for the past three weeks been in camp preparing for the showpiece and was last week joined by ten foreign-based players for the trip.
Ghana is chasing an elusive Olympic Games ticket for the first time in 15 years and coach Tanko believes the drought would end this year as he has a trusted squad to deliver the ticket to Tokyo.
Speaking at the weekend after watching his side wrap up preparations with a 2-0 win over Division Two side Shooting Stars, coach Tanko said playing at the Olympics Games is an experience every football player dreams of and for his team having come this close they are ready to give their all to send Ghana to Tokyo.
“We are going into the tournament as one of the top teams, and for a top team the desire is to lift the trophy and that is our ultimate goal heading to Egypt.”
According to him, Ghanaians cannot wait any longer to watch their side play at the Olympic Games and they the technical team and the playing body cannot fail them this time. He used the opportunity to call on Ghanaians to rally behind the team before and during the tournament.
“The task ahead is a daunting one however I know with massive support from Ghanaians we will execute the task to perfection.”
The full squad for the tournament:
Goalkeepers: Kwame Baah (Asante Kotoko), Richmond Ayi (Hearts of Oak), Ibrahim Danlad (Asante Kotoko)
Defenders: Kingsley Fobi (CB Badajoz, Spain), Edward Sarpong (Esperanca de Lagos, Spain) Emmanuel Cudjoe (Attram De Visser), Fuseini Zackaria (Berekum Chelsea), William Ntori Dankyi (Hearts of Oak), Mohammed Habib (Asante Kotoko), Robin Polley (ADO Den Haag).
Midfielders: Evans Osei Wusu (Tema Youth), Simon Zibo (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal), Nurudeen Abdul-Aziz (Vision FC), Emmanuel Addoquaye Lomotey (Extremadura, Spain), Yaw Yeboah (Celta Vigo, Spain), Evans Mensah (HJK Helsinki, Finland), Michael Agbekpornu (Dreams FC).
Strikers: Frank Arhin (Dalkurd, Sweden), Kwabena Owusu (Córdoba CF, Spain) Ropapa Mensah (Nashville SC), Samuel Obeng Gyabaa (Real Oviedo).
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY