Chris Hughton has finally named his first Black Stars squad ahead of Ghana’s two-legged AFCON qualifier with Angola.
The former Newcastle United and Brighton manager has opted for continuity naming most of the players who featured at Ghana’s unsuccessful world cup campaign.
One of the new names is Ransford Yeboah Königsdörffer of Hamburger SV of Germany. The 20-year-old forward has been one of the standout players in Bundesliga 2 with 7 goals in 23 appearances and could be an x-factor for Ghana.
Königsdörffer was born in Berlin and started his career with Hertha Berlin but it was not until he moved to Dynamo Dresden at the age of 17 his career started taking off. 13 goals in 16 games for the Dresden u19 squad hinted at the talent he had. He was then moved to the Dresden first team and helped them gain promotion to Bundesliga 2 with 7 goals and 3 assists in 32 games at 18.
Dresden struggled after promotion and finished 16th meaning they had to partake in a relegation play-off against FC Kaiserslautern.
Unfortunately for Dresden, it was not meant to be as they went down.
Königsdörffer, however, was still able to play at a similar level despite the step up managing 5 goals and 2 assists in fewer games. His performances earned him a move to Hamburg which leads us to this season.
HSV currently lies second and looks set to return to the Bundesliga after a 5-year absence. HSV, despite being one of the most supported sides in Germany, have struggled in recent years. During the early 2000’s HSV were a European constant and occasionally found themselves in the Champions League.
However, the 2010s were not kind to them and the club regularly found themselves mired in relegation battles. In 2014 and 2015 Hamburg twice went to the relegation playoffs where they managed to secure Bundesliga status but in 2018 they finished in the automatic relegation places and dropped to Bundesliga 2.
HSV have consistently finished in the top 5 but have been able to trouble the automatic promotion places.
However, things are looking up this season and Königsdörffer has been a big part of that. Despite starting in only 60% of his team’s games at the time of writing, he has scored 15% of their goals, 3 of them being game-winning goals as defined by transfrmarket.com.
Deployed mostly on the flanks, the young attacker utilises his pace and skill to create opportunities for himself and his teammates. Despite being right-footed, he plays mostly on the right side unlike most modern forwards who prefer to play inverted. Though he primarily plays on the right he has shown the ability to play across the front line and even at right back. His ability to score with both feet has aided this approach with 2 of his 7 goals coming with his left foot.
Königsdörffer’s ability on the ball and in front of goal means that he could be an important contributor to the black stars in the coming years.
Of the forwards in the current squad, three of the most key are approaching the twilight of their careers.
Inaki Williams, Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew will soon be replaced by younger players and Königsdörffer could be one of them.
An attacking quartet of Antione Semenyo, Mohammed Kudus, Joseph Paintsil and Königsdörffer will be one of the most complete in Africa.
All the aforementioned players have the right blend of technical and physical skills to make the black stars one of the most feared teams on the continent.