C.K Akonnor’s new Black Stars squad, despite including 17 players from Kwesi Appiah’s final national team squad, still included a few surprising selections.
Despite many people casting doubt about a potential future with the national team because of his age, 32-year-old Yahaya Mohammed made it into Akonnor’s 23.
Hearts of Oak goalie, Richard Attah also earned a call-up with a string of decent performances in the Ghana Premier League for the Phobians this season.
However, it’s the names that missed out on a call-up to the national side that have set tongues wagging.
We take a look at the biggest named to have been left out by C.K Akonnor and possible reasons why they were dropped.
At 34 years old, Gyan is, without a doubt, reaching the end of his international career. In fact, it appeared to have ended when the player retired from the national team prior to the 2019 AFCON after being stripped of the captaincy only for him to return and feature at the tournament.
His form for current club, NorthEast United, however, indicates the finish line might not be as close as many people fear. Gyan has played eight times for United and scored four goals, creating one more for his side. Gyan missed out on Kwesi Appiah’s last list as well. Gyan’s relationship with Kwesi Appiah soured at the end, with the coach reluctant to play the striker while the player himself acknowledged that he wasn’t in the coach’s plans for the tournament. Gyan might have been hoping for a fresh start under Akonnor while that may not be the case this time, don’t ever rule out Ghana’s highest-ever goalscorer.
Just like Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah had a strained relationship with Kwesi Appiah at the end of his second spell in charge. Although Appiah said the player’s “issues”, particularly injuries, kept him from playing more, Asamoah expressed concerns with the position he was asked to play in at AFCON 2019.
Asamoah has barely played since the turn of the year for his club side, Inter Milan. In total, Asamoah has played 11 matches across Serie A and the Champions League, providing one assist. His lack of gametime might have factored in Akonnor’s decision to keep him out of the squad.
One player who isn’t lacking gametime this season is Kevin-Prince Boateng. Before moving to Besiktas on loan in January, KPB played 14 times for Fiorentina, scoring one goal. At the Turkish club, Boateng has made five appearances and already scored two goals.
It’s not form or fitness that’s keeping Boateng out of the Black Stars. His history with the national team is checkered, bookmarked by the incident at the 2014 World Cup, where he and Sulley Muntari were kicked out. Although there’ve been some calls for him to be reintegrated into the side, the old wounds might just run a little too deep.
Mensah has established himself as a key player for Columbus Crew over the years, a fact that was cemented by him being named captain ahead of the season. He has started both of their matches so far this season. Mensah missed out on Kwesi Appiah’s last squad as well.
A number of people have questioned why Mensah was left out of the squad given his importance for his club side. However, given the emergence of players like Kassim Nuhu and Joseph Aidoo, others suspect it might just be the case of the old guard being phased out.
Boye’s absence from Akonnor’s squad was made even more conspicuous by the hilarious exchange between a journalist and the Black Stars boss. However, there is a point to be made about Boye’s ommission. He has played 24 times for Metz this season and has become a key player for them.
He’s even managed to chip in a couple of goals as well. John Boye has always had a love-hate relationship with Ghanaian football fans with the hate getting the upper hand in recent years after his escapades in Brazil and his red card in Ghana’s opening game at AFCON 2019 against Benin. But on his day, he’s a more-than-adequate defender. While he may not have made the squad this time, if he keeps up this form, don’t rule out a return for Boye to the Stars.