Head coach of the Black Stars of Ghana, Charles Kwablan Akonnor has shared his thoughts on how the local-based players can get into his team.
In an interview shared by the Ghana Football Association (GFA), the first-team coach said “it is up to the local players” to distinguish themselves to earn a call-up to represent the country.
“It is up to the locals. We will give them the chance, and we will encourage them. I had planned before we assembled the team and there is a team psychologist to talk to them before they even join the camp”.
C. K Akonnor added that a lot has changed since his playing days and urged the denizen players to change the narrative as there is a disparity between themselves and the foreign-based players.
“The challenge is up to them, I would like to give more chances to the local-based players. When I started playing, the likes of Frimpong-Manso, Armah Senegal, Mayanga, Salifu Ansah, the goalkeeper, they were all senior first-team players. And we had a majority of local players in the team. I even started playing for the Black Stars as a local player before traveling abroad.
Things have changed now, and it is up to us to improve that area because there is a big gap. And when you see the local-based players with the big players, there is a huge difference and that is up to them to change the narrative”.
The 46-year-old encouraged the local-based players to see themselves equals to those that play in Europe and fight to be in the starting XI, rather than see themselves as fit for only the bench.
For me, once I see a player doing well, it’ll give him the chance to be a part of my team. The player should also believe that when they get the chance, they are coming to play rather than be on the bench and if you are a player and have that belief, it shows, even in the way you train and these are things they have to do for themselves.
We will see them, invite them into the team and I am not going to close my eyes on them, once they are there and they are training well, they will surely play.
The ex-Black Stars midfielder lavished praises on Kotoko’s Justice Blay despite not calling him to feature in Ghana’s double-header against Sudan in the African Cup of Nations qualifier which was scheduled for March and April.
Take into consideration Justice Blay, he looks active and hungry, I like players like that. He wants to be successful and he has been showing it all season and not in a game or two.
Akonnor concluded that the local-based players have not been consistent and that accounts for them not calling a call-up to the national team.
My research tells me, no player in the Ghana Premier League has been able to play three or four matches at the top, the players can come out and challenge if they doubt me. They need to be consistent, they play the first game with great intensity, then the tempo keeps dropping, they need to stay up there and then they can get into the team.
The COVID-19 pandemic has halted major sporting activities across the globe and that includes the AFCON 2021 Qualifiers. The Black Stars of Ghana were scheduled to play against Sudan in a double-header.
Ghana leads its group with two wins out of two after victories over São Tomé and Príncipe and South Africa.
Watch the interview here:
— Ghana Football Association (@ghanafaofficial) April 1, 2020