Eleven years ago, the Black Stars of Ghana were the envy of many African countries as they made the continent proud at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
The Black Stars of Ghana was just a kick away from making history but for that penalty miss against Uruguay.
Years down the line, the team has cracks, one that has left a lot of questions on the minds of football fanatics, and pundits in the country.
Why? The team has lost its class. The squad depth is not as deadly as it used to be and above all, there is the conversation of manipulation in team selections.
“In 2010, Sulley Muntari, who won the UEFA Champions League was sitting on the bench during our FIFA World Cup exploits. Today, you cannot even point out a proven winner in this Black Stars team. What happened to all of that class, pedigree we had when calling players for a game?
Time and again, football pundits share their views on who they think deserves to be called to the senior national team, the Black Stars of Ghana.
Not that they are better in coaching, but a simple research will show you who the best performing Ghanaians in the world are. From England to Vietnam.
Ahead of the team’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against South Africa and São Tomé and Príncipe, the head coach, Charles Kwablan Akonnor called some players which once again sparked conversations on radio, television and social.
A lot of questions were raised when information leaked that he, C.K Akonnor did not even know about the inclusion of the likes of Nicholas Opoku and Emmanuel Lomotey in his 29-man squad for the games.
Minds wandered as to why a call-up was handed to Stephen Ambrosius, who opted to play for Germany’s U-21, as well Colchester United’s Kwame Afriyie Poku, who plays in England 4th tier league.
On Sports Panorama on Citi FM, I described the team as “trial and error” and advised Akonnor to resign if he feels he does not have complete control over the squad.
Now let’s take a look at the players he called for the games against South Africa and Sao Tome:
Goalkeepers: Richard Ofori (Orlando Pirates – South Africa), Razak Abalora (Asante Kotoko – Ghana), Eric Ofori Antwi (Medeama SC – Ghana), Danlad Ibrahim (Asante Kotoko- Ghana)
Full Backs: Baba Abdul Rahman (PAOK – Greece), Gideon Mensah (Vitória de Guimarães – Portugal), Benson Annan (MLK Zilina – Slovakia), Philemon Baffuor (Dreams FC – Ghana)
Central Defenders: Nicholas Opoku (Amiens SC – France), Kasim Nuhu (1899 Hoffenheim – Germany), Ganiyu Ismael (Asante Kotoko – Ghana), Stephen Ambrosius (Hamburger SV – Germany)
Central Midfield: Kudus Mohammed (Ajax Amsterdam – Holland), Mubarak Wakaso (Jiangsu Suning F.C – China), Afriyie Acquah (Yeni Malatyaspor – Turkey), Emmanuel Lomotey (Amiens SC – France), Iddrisu Baba (RCD Mallorca – Spain), Gladson Awako (Great Olympics -Ghana), Kwame Afriyie Poku (Colchester United – England)
Left Attacking Midfield: Osman Bukari (Gent – Belgium), Joseph Esso (Dreams FC- Ghana)
Right Attacking Midfield: Kamal Sowah (OH Leuven- Belgium), Fatawu Issahaku (Steadfast FC – Ghana)
Attackers: Emmanuel Boateng (Dalian Professional- China), Emmanuel Gyasi (Spezia – Italy), Kwame Opoku (Asante Kotoko – Ghana), John Antwi (Pyramids FC – Egypt), Kwasi Okyere Wriedt (Willem II – Holland), Caleb Ekuban (Trabzonspor – Turkey)
It is my personal belief that the Black Stars selections should be given to players who feature regularly in their respective clubs and also play in the top 5 leagues in Europe and considerably, players like Mohammed Kudus who play in the Netherlands for Ajax Amsterdam.
At worst, players in Turkey, Belgium should be looked at, but they must be regular starters for their club sides and contribute significantly to their teams in Europe.
In the last team, but for Andre Dede Ayew who plays for Swansea City in the English Championship and are on the verge of qualifying to the Premier League next season, all the forward players who were called up have not scored up to ten goals for their clubs this season.
- Emmanuel Gyasi (Spezia) – 4 goals in 25 games.
- Caleb Ekuban (Trabzonspor) – 8 goals in 24 games.
- Kwasi Otchere Wriedt (Willem II) – 6 goals in 17 games.
- Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) – One goal, three assists in 25 games.
- Kwame Opoku (Asante Kotoko) – 7 goals in 16 games.
- Emmanuel Boateng (Dalian Professional) 2 goals in 7 games.
However, Joseph Paintsil who plays for Turkish side Ankaragucu with 7 goals in 23 games did not get an invitation.
For me, that’s just dishonesty and that is partially to blame for our 40 year AFCON title drought.
You cannot give a call up to someone who plays in China and leave out Joseph Paintsil who has been good this season and scoring a lot of goals in Turkey.
If you are picking players based on performance, be honest and select the best among the rest and not because player A is affiliated to which management member. Stop running the Black Stars like that.
Ghanaians are yearning for another continental glory at the national team level, especially with Black Stars after the U-20 side, led by Karim Zito won the AFCON hosted in Mauritania in February.
For that to happen, the following things must happen:
- Non-interference in Black Stars selection for games.
- Selection must be done purely based on performance.
- Pick the best of players from the top five leagues in Europe plus notable players who cannot be overlooked Mohammed Kudus.
- Have a structured plan.
- Do not give invitation to players who are 30 and above.
- Pick the best from the Ghana Premier League.
- Have in mind progressive team.
Below are Ghanaian players who ply their trade in the top five leagues in Europe plus Netherlands, Turkey and Belgium and if the technical handlers would be honest and go through this list and hand out invitations based on merit, more than half the players they called up for South Africa and Sudan would have missed out.
|J. Schlupp||Premier League||Crystal Palace (Left midfielder or left back) – 18 games, 2 goals and an assist|
|J. Ayew||Premier League||Crystal Palace (Striker) – 25 games, one goal and three assists|
|D. Amartey||Premier League||Leicester City (Defender) – 10 games, one goal|
|T. Partey||Premier League||Arsenal (Midfielder) – 15 games, no goal|
|M. Salisu||Premier League||Southampton (defender) – 5 games|
|E. Akurugu||La Liga||Getafe (Left-back) – No game played this season|
|K. Fobi||La Liga||Granada (Right Back) – One La Liga appearance and 13 second team games|
|J. Aidoo||La Liga||Celta Vigo (Centre back) – 19 La Liga Games|
|S. Abdulai||La Liga||Getafe (Midfielder) – No game played this season|
|P. Ankrah||Serie A||Hellas Verona (Forward) – 1 game, 12 minutes played|
|E. Gyasi||Serie A||Spezia (Forward) – 25 games, 4 goals|
|A. Duncan||Serie A||Cagliari (Midfielder) – 9 games|
|K. Asamoah||Serie A||Cagliari (Left-back) – 3 games, 42 minutes played|
|K. Nuhu||Bundesliga (Defender) – 12 games||Hoffenheim|
|A. Djiku||Ligue 1 (defender) – 24 games||Strasbourg|
|A. Waris||Ligue 1 (attacker) – 15 games, 1 goal||Strasbourg|
|J. Boye||Ligue 1 (defender) 28 games, 1 goal||Metz|
|E. Boahene||Ligue 1 (defender) – Not played a game this season||Metz|
|M. Kudus||Eredivisie||Ajax – 10 games played, 2 goals and 3 assists|
|K. Wriedt||Eredivisie||Willem II (striker) – 17 games, 6 goals|
|I. Abass||Eredivisie||Twente (forward) – 7 games, played 108 minutes in total|
|Mohammed Dauda||First Division A||Anderlecht (Attacker) – 13 games, 1 goal|
|Isaac Nuhu||First Division A||AS Eupen (Midfielder) – 7 games, 1 goal|
|M. Ashimeru||First Division A||Anderlecht (Midfielder) 2 games|
|Eric Ocansey||First Division A||Kortrijk (Forward) – 29 games, 1 goal|
|Samuel Asamoah||First Division A||Sint-Truiden (Midfielder) – 18 games|
|Kamal Sowah||First Division A||OH Leuven (midfielder) – 31 games|
|Nana Opoku Ampomah||First Division A||Antwerp (Midfielder) – 13 games, 1 goal|
|Isaac Asante||First Division A||OH Leuven (midfielder) 3 games|
|Daniel Opare||First Division A||Zulte-Waregem (right back) – 29 games|
|Jonah Osabutey||First Division A||OH Leuven (Forward) – No games|
|Abdul Manaf Nurudeen||First Division A||AS Eupen (Goalkeeper) – 1 game|
|Osman Bukari||First Division A||Gent (Forward) – 24 games, 4 goals.|
|Emmanuel Sowah Adjei||First Division A||AS Eupen (Right back) – No game.|
|Joseph Attamah||Süper Lig||Kayserispor (Midfielder) – 21 games|
|Benjamin Tetteh||Süper Lig||Yeni Malatyaspor (Forward) – 23 games, 4 goals|
|Isaac Cofie||Süper Lig||Sivasspor (Midfielder) – 18 games|
|C. Ekuban||Süper Lig||Trabzonspor (Striker) – 8 goals in 24 games|
|Isaac Sackey||Süper Lig||Hatayspor (Midfielder) – 22 games|
|Bernard Mensah||Süper Lig||Beşiktaş (Midfielder) – 24 games, 4 goals|
|Joseph Martin Paintsil||Süper Lig||Ankaragücü (Attacker) – 23 games, 7 goals|
|Gilbert Koomson||Süper Lig||Kasımpaşa (Attacker) – 13 games|
|Godfred. Donsah||Süper Lig||Rizespor (Midfielder) – 17 games, 1 goal|
|Afriyie Acquah||Süper Lig||Yeni Malatyaspor (Midfielder) – 27 games, 2 goals|