Sports News of Thursday, 16 May 2019
With less than two months for the start of the Africa Cup of Nations, football fandom are expecting Coach Kwesi Appiah to name a strong squad that can win Ghana the ultimate in Egypt.
However, assistant coach of the Black Stars, Ibrahim Tanko in an interview with Joy Sports revealed that the provisional squad will be named on May 20.
“Ghanaians should expect a team that can help us achieve our goal at the AFCON.
“I think there is going to be one or two surprises, of course, like any time,” he added.
After coming close to win the ultimate in 1992, 2010 and 2015, Chairman of the Normalization Committee, Dr Kofi Amoah in an interview with Metro TV last week Thursday revealed that Coach Kwesi Appiah has the support of the president and he [Nana Akufo Addo] is ready to do anything to make sure Ghana ends it trophy drought in Egypt.
Every football person will love President Akufo Addo’s support for the Black Stars but for Ghana to win the 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, it will boil down to the players Kwesi Appiah parade for the tournament.
For the first time in the history of the tournament, there will be 24 countries competing for the glory which makes it difficult for every country to win the tournament.
From a credible source, we have been privileged to see Kwesi Appiah’s 30-man provisional squad for the tournament and it comes with a huge surprise. However, we will access the strikers that has been named in the squad.
Jordan Ayew, Asamoah Gyan, Majeed Waris, Caleb Ekuban, Richmond Boakye-Yiadom, John Antwi, Kwabena Owusu, Bernard Terkpetey and Dauda Mohammed are the strikers in Kwesi Appiah’s 30-man provisional squad.
Coach Kwesi Appiah has been cautioned that he has no option than to win the ultimate or he will be shown the exit. Ghana are expecting Kwesi Appiah to parade a squad that will win the Africa Cup of Nations for the country.
Club: Crystal Palace
The 26-year-old centre forward has performed poorly since joining Crystal Palace on loan from Swansea City.
The former Aston Villa forward was expected to hit the grounds running with the Eagles but has failed to live up to expectation.
Jordan may have experience in playing the Africa Cup of Nations but form is very crucial in playing such a prestigious tournament.
He has been given several opportunities but has consistently let the country down in a difficult moment but the sole decision is in the hands of the coach, Kwesi Appiah.
With no doubt, Asamoah Gyan is one of the best strikers the country has ever produced and has been a true servant to the country.
However, one will agree with me that Gyan is not the same player he used to be since joining Kayserispor.
In an interview with Asempa FM, the 33-year-old admitted that he will not perturbed if Kwesi Appiah drops him from his final 23 man squad.
“Ghana can win AFCON without me,” he said. “Ivory Coast won it without their talisman Didier Drogba in 2015 so it is possible.
“However, I would want to a legacy as a player. The only thing left for me is to win the AFCON,” added.
With the statistics above, it will be difficult for any coach to pick Asamoah Gyan for such tournament.
Countries who have won the Africa Cup Nations won it with prolific strikers. The basic question here is that, will Asamoah Gyan be helpful should he make it to the final 23?
Should the former Sunderland forward even make the squad, he should not be starting for the team because the Black Stars will need fresh blood fresh who can run for 90 minutes.
Gyan is aware that he has not had the best of seasons and does not deserve to make Kwesi Appiah’s final squad but his experience will be vital one way or the other.
Coach Kwesi Appiah must be bold in decision making and trust the young players ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Club: FC Nantes
Despite chalking 36 appearances for the Nantes, Waris endured a torrid season with the French side.
The 28-year-old has been consistently played for the country but have failed to deliver for the country.
Against, Kenya in the AFCON qualifiers in Nairobi, the former FC Porto forward had numerous chances but failed to convert them.
I know many will question his inclusion in the 30 man squad because he has consistently failed the country.
Coach Kwesi Appiah needs to give the young and upcoming the chance ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
For me, Waris does not deserve to make the 30 man squad despite scoring 7 goals. The Black Stars needs strikers that are scoring goals for fun and Waris is not doing that.
One Ghanaian player who has been a revelation is Caleb Ekuban.
The Italian born forward endured a torrid time at Leeds United in the English Championship but after joining Trabzonspor on loan, the 24-year-old made an instant impact and has been impressive for the club.
Many football enthusiasts didn’t know him when Kwesi Appiah invited him for the final Africa Cup of Nations against Kenya and in an international friendly against Mauritania.
Ekuban scored the only goal for the Black Stars against the Harambee Stars at the Accra Sports Stadium to top the group.
He went on to score another goal against Mauritania in the friendly match.
With no doubt, I know many are expecting Kwesi Appiah to name Ekuban in his final 23 man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Due to impressive heroics, many clubs in Europe are in race to secure the signature of the young forward.
Club: Red Stars Belgrade
This is a striker who has won the Serbian League with Red Star Belgrade.
Boakye-Yiadom has been consistent for the Serbian side and has been able to score 13 goals in all games for the club.
These are the kind of strikers the country is expecting Coach Kwesi Appiah to give them a call up to the national team.
Surprisingly, Boakye-Yaidom has not been given enough chance at the national despite his heroics.
With his sharpness and energy level, the 26-year-old must be starting for the country ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The former Juventus star has been one of the most prolific strikers in Europe and must make the final 23 man squad.
Club: Misr El Makasa
This is a striker whom many Ghanaian football fans have consistently called for his inclusion to the Black Stars due to his impressive heroics in Egypt.
The former Dreams FC forward has been consistent since his move to the Egyptian Premier League.
Antwi is the highest foreign scorer in the Egyptian history and has also carved for himself arguably the best Ghanaian striker across the globe this season; scoring 12 staggering goals for Misr El-Makasa.
This season alone John Antwi has made remarkable achievements on the venues to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, 5 out of his 12 Premier League goals this season has come on venues that are chosen for the tournament; on the Al Salam Stadium.
He scored in a 2:1 defeat to Al Ahly and also scored one of the goals in a 2:1 win against El Qanah FC at the Alexandria Stadium, just to mention a few.
He has obviously been a nightmare to defenders, his call up again in the Black Stars for AFCON 2019 will send rippling shivers down the spine of the host country.
Coach Kwesi Appiah must not overlook John Antwi if he wants to win the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.
His inclusion to the final 23 will be a huge advantage to the Black Stars but a disadvantage to the host nation, Egypt.
Antwi was handed a call up to the Black Stars during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Uganda in Kampala.
However, the former Eleven Wise and Hearts of Oak forward was unused but feature for the country in an international friendly against Saudi Arabia.
Club: Salamanca CF
Kwabena Owusu is a Ghanaian forward who plays for Salamanca CF in the third tier in Spain.
Owusu is originally owned by CD Leganés. The Ghana U-23 winger is yet to feature for the Black Stars.
Despite scoring 10 goals, Owusu is yet to prove his worth for the Black Stars.
He will be hoping to fight for the 23 man squad ahead of the tournament.
Club: SC Paderborn
The SC Paderborn forward has been brilliant in the second tier in Germany.
Terkpetey failed to impress the last time he featured for the Black Stars and with the Africa Cup of Nations coming up, Kwesi Appiah has named the 26-year-old in his 30- man provisional squad.
The former Schalke 04 man will be hoping to take his chances.
Club: Vitesse Arnhem
Dauda Mohammed has not enjoyed the best of seasons since joining Vitesse Arnhem on loan from Anderlecht.
The former Asante Kotoko forward has not enjoyed the best of football since moving to Europe.
However, Kwesi Appiah has given the 24-year-old forward to prove himself ahead of the tournament.
Mohammed is yet to feature for the Black Stars.