Ghana’s men for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup to be staged in Qatar, were yesterday unveiled in Accra – with the surfacing of certain names – initially missing from the provisional 55-man squad.
Yesterday’s final-26 squad announcement came with the not-too-surprising omissions of the nation’s marquee goalkeepers – Joseph Luke Wollacott (Charlton Athletic) and second-choice Richard Ofori (Orlando Pirates) both of whom picked up 11th-hour injuries in their final club engagements.
It must have been a huge blow to Ghana and Coach Otto Addo – who quickly drafted in Asante Kotoko net-minder, Ibrahim Danlad.
Midfielder Joseph Paintsil, who has had a brilliant run of form for Belgian club Genk and Crystal Palace left-back Jeffrey Schlupp, were once again omitted from the squad – a decision that triggered a bout of controversy when they missed out on the provisional list.
However, Coach Addo said the decision to drop Paintsil and Schlupp had been communicated to the affected players, and would not want to stretch it further.
He said he based his criteria for selection on player values, readiness to play for the Black Stars as well as performance for club and country.
“The decision at the end of the day is mine, and I stand by it,” he asserted.
Gent midfielder Elisha Owusu was also picked ahead of on-dim-form veteran Mubarak Wakaso, leaving the squad with Captain Andre Ayew and brother Jordan as the only players with World Cup experience.
Belgium-based Kamal Sowah, France-based Salis Abdul Samed and goalkeeper Ibrahim would be thrilled to stage their debut appearance for the Stars.
Ahead of the announcement, President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kurt Okraku, called on Ghanaians to rally behind the team, and cut off the negativities as he believed the players were ready to defend the flag of Ghana.
“This is our own. Let’s be positive and stop all the negativity around the team,” he urged.
Otto Addo’s charges are expected to take on Switzerland in a final pre-tournament friendly on Thursday, at the Al-Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – barely three days ahead of the World Cup opener.
The Stars open their campaign on November 24 against Portugal; take on South Korea four days later – and round off the group games on December 2 against Uruguay.
Below is Ghana’s final squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
Goalkeepers: Lawrence Ati-Zigi, Abdul Manaf Nurudeen and Ibrahim Danlad.
Defenders: Denis Odoi, Tariq Lamptey, Alidu Seidu, Daniel Amartey, Joseph Aidoo, Alexander Djiku, Mohammed Salisu, Abdul Rahman Baba and Gideon Mensah.
Midfielders/Wingers: Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Elisha Owusu, Salis Abdul Samed, Mohammed Kudus, Daniel Kofi Kyereh, Daniel Afriyie Barnieh, Kamal Sowah, Osman Bukari, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku and Kamaldeen Sulemana.
Strikers: Iñaki Williams, Antoine Semenyo and Jordan Ayew.
Seidu – Clermont
Tariq – Brighton & Hove Albion
Odoi – Club Bruges
Salisu – Southampton
Aidoo – Celta Vigo
Djiku – Racing Strasbourg
Amartey – Leicester City
Afriyie -Hearts of Oak
Sowah – Club Brugge
Bukari – Red Star Belgrade
Sulemana – Rennes
Williams – Athletic Bilbao
Semenyo – Bristol City
J Ayew – Crystal Palace
BY JOHN VIGAH