Following Ghana’s disappointing exit at the Round of 16 stage of this year’s African Cup of Nations tournament, wholesale changes were expected to be made to the squad.
This was the case as Kwesi Appiah named his 23-man team for AFCON 2021 qualifiers against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe in November.
Of the 23 players who were on the plane to Egypt in June, only 11 remain.
So which 12 players failed to make the new squad and why?
Lawrence Ati-Zigi (Sochaux, France)
Ligue 2 side, Sochaux have played 13 league and cup games this season but Ati-Zigi has only played 3 of them.
Although he didn’t play a single minute at the 2019 AFCON, he was seen as Richard Ofori’s backup. His lack of gametime might have accounted for his omission.
Abdul Baba Rahman (RCD Mallorca, Spain)
Baba Rahman signed a one-year contract extension with Chelsea and then moved on loan to RCD Mallorca. Injuries have derailed a once-promising career.
Rahman has played two league games for Mallorca this season but is sidelined until December with an injury. At the last AFCON Rahman actually played three games and contributed two assists.
John Boye ( Metz, France)
Boye earned the ire of Ghanaian fans at the last AFCON after his sending off in the Black Stars’ opener against Benin. He, however, returned to the squad after his suspension, featuring in Ghana’s final two games.
He has been very much involved for his club side as well, playing in nine of his side’s 11 games. Perhaps his omission was to take him out of Ghanaian fans’ firing line for a bit.
Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC, USA)
Jonathan Mensah played in half of the Black Stars’ matches at the 2019 AFCON. This season Mensah has featured 24 times for Columbus Crew in the MLS. However, Kwesi Appiah has opted to leave out the defender from the squad.
Joseph Attamah (Çaykur Rizespor, Turkey)
Attamah did not play in any of Ghana’s games at the AFCON and moved to Çaykur Rizespor on loan from İstanbul Başakşehir. He has played eight matches and delivered one assist.
Kwadwo Asamoah (Inter Milan, Italy)
Kwadwo Asamoah has featured in seven league games and three Champions League games this season for Inter.
However, his relationship with coach Kwesi Appiah took a nosedive at the AFCON resulting in him playing just two times. He came out to say that he was not comfortable with the left-sided midfield role assigned him.
Afriyie Acquah (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey)
Acquah moved to Yeni Malatyaspor in the summer and has played seven games this season. He was a key player at the 2019 AFCON playing three games.
Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, England)
Christian Atsu started two games at the AFCON before suffering a hamstring injury that kept him out for months.
He has since returned to action with Newcastle where he’s played eight league games and created two goals. It’s understandable that he would not want to rush back to national team action just yet.
Thomas Agyepong (Waasland-Beveren, Belgium)
Agyepong was involved in just one game at the 2019 AFCON. The Manchester City player is on loan again, this time at Waasland-Beveren in Belgium. He has played in five games so far for his new side.
Kwabena Owusu (Leganes, Spain)
Kwabena Owusu was almost Ghana’s hero in the 0-0 draw with Cameroon at the AFCON, hitting the crossbar late on, minutes after coming off the bench. He ended with three appearances at his first AFCON tournament.
He was signed by Córdoba CF, on loan from Leganes and is quickly making a name for himself, scoring three times in nine matches.
Caleb Ekuban (Trabzonspor, Turkey)
Ekuban seems to have put all that behind him and is in sparkling for Trabzonspor. he has scored one league goal in three games but it’s in the Europa League where he’s really shining. Four goals in four games has everyone wondering why he was left out by Kwesi Appiah.
Asamoah Gyan (NorthEast United, India)
The biggest name not to have made the squad is undoubtedly former Black Stars captain and Ghana’s highest ever goalscorer, Asamoah Gyan.
Gyan missed out on the squad despite scoring a goal for his new side in the Indian Super League last weekend.
It’s unclear why Asamoah Gyan was left out of the squad although it’s not completely surprising given comments made by Gyan about his role under Kwesi Appiah at the last AFCON.
Gyan said in August that Appiah did not have him in his plans for the AFCON.
He, however, stated that he was still willing to play for the Black Stars under “any coach”, including Appiah, should he be called into the team.