A Hearts of Oak legend, Alhaji Mohammed Ahmed Polo has expressed his disappointment with Coach Kwesi Appiah’s decision to drop the two local outfield players from the final 23-man squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) in Egypt.
Coach Kwesi Appiah named two local outfield players, Mohammed Alhassan of Hearts of Oak and Abdul Fataw Shafiu of Kumasi Asante Kotoko in his 29 man squad for the pre-tournament preparations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), but none of them made it into the final squad for the tournament.
The third locally based professional who is Kotoko’s goalkeeper, Felix Annan, was the sole home-based player that made the cut, a situation the celebrated ex-footballer felt was an injustice to players featuring in the local league.
Polo told the GNA Sports that Appiah should have encouraged the local players by picking at least one outfield player for the tournament.
“At least one should have been selected if not all of them. I was thinking that he was going to use the platform to encourage our local players by adding one outfield player to the goalkeeper in the final squad,” he said.
The ‘Dribbling Magician’ said the decision had already been taken by the coach and can only hope that the team would go to Egypt, with a united front to defend the flag of Ghana and make the nation proud.
“The players should be dedicated, focused, and clean and forget about the captaincy issues in camp. They must learn to play for each other and what we as Ghanaians need to do is to pray and rally behind the team. I think they can bring the trophy home.”
“Kwesi Appiah has seen it all and with his experience at the world stage, he should have the confidence to select any player of his choice and also bench any who underperforms,” he added.
The 2019 AFCON is scheduled to kick start on June 21. Ghana will play their opening game against Benin on June 25, at the Ismailia Stadium.
Commenting on the confusion over the Hearts-Kotoko semi final match on Sunday, he asked Kotoko to apologise to their supporters for the initial boycott decision that created the storm around the game.
The Porcupine Warriors initially decided to boycott the competition after a failed petition to the NC to have a two-legged semi-final game or play on a neutral ground, as well as a demand for equal disbursement of gate proceeds for the two clubs.
“The boycott has taken away the excitement and the euphoria around the game. Kotoko should apologise to the supporters. Kotoko is a great team with great players and a large number of supporters, who can follow the team to any place so they shouldn’t have raised that issue.”
“Even though it makes sense to demand for equal share of the gate proceeds, they still need to render an unqualified apology to their fans for the initial boycott,” he added.
The former Black Stars player said, both teams were favourites to win the game considering the previous meetings between them.
“Both teams are favourite to win the game looking at their previous meetings and moreover this is a new generation of players with a lot of quality so we expect to see free flowing football on Sunday,” he said.