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It’s always been the dream of professional footballers and amateurs alike, to have a taste of playing at the most prestigious football competition. Owing to this, it would be exciting for every Ghanaian footballer to have his name on the list of candidates vying for a seat on the plane to the Mundial.

On Friday, 4th November 2022, the provisional squad for the Black Stars was published by the Ghana Football Association. A critical look at the provisional 55-man squad submitted by Otto Addo for the world cup creates the impression that some names were on the list to only fill blank spaces. It is also considered by a section of football connoisseurs as a cunning ploy by the technical handlers of the team to be seen as widening their tentacles to bring on board the best Ghanaian players around the world.

The release of the squad was greeted with mixed reactions from football fans. The most prominent among the concerns raised by Ghanaians was the implausible omission of Bernard Tekpetey of Bulgarian giants, Ludogorets Razgrad. His omission from a 55-man squad despite his fine form for his club may not only be a travesty but probably a harbinger of the impending jaw-droppers.

On 13th November, as required by FIFA, every team will have to submit their final list of 23-26 players for the tournament. After a close perusal of the Black Stars 55-man list, it appears as though there will be little fuss over the final list. Otto Addo is most likely going to stick with his trusted army rather than rummaging the football world for a “messiesque” saviour or indulging in any kind of trial and error, knowing full well that time is not a luxury he has. If not for injuries or any other mishaps, there are about, at least, 18 players whose seats are secured on the flight to Qatar. This category of players have been the fulcrum of Otto Addo’s plans since he took over as the head coach of the Black Stars. This include Jojo Wollacott, Richard Ofori, Andre Ayew, Partey, Djiku, Amartey, Gideon Mensah, Denis Odoi, Salisu, Jordan, Kudus, Kofi Kyere, Baba Iddrisu, Baba Rahman, Tariq Lamptey, Inãki Williams, Kamaldeen, Osman Bukari and Fatau Issahaku. If not for Afena-Gyan’s situation at Cremonese, which has somewhat dented his chances and relegated him to the 50-50 company, he would have been part of this category.

Another category of players is those who have 50-50 chances of making it to the gulf country. Amongst this group is Danlad Ibrahim of Kotoko. He is arguably one of the few players who could gatecrash the final squad list – largely for his exploits at other national team levels and Manaf Nurudeen’s lack of playing time at club level. However, Manaf’s heroics in the penalty shootout against Chile in the Kirin cup gives him a little advantage over Danlad. The most likeliest to make the list from this category, though, is Alidu Seidu. His ability to play across all positions at the backline gives him the edge over the defenders in this group. His closest contender would be Jonathan Mensah, who has been to two world cup finals and thus, has a wealth of experience in his repertoire. Stephan Ambrosius chances can’t be discounted, albeit slimmer. The fiercest competition, however, would be the fight for a berth in midfield. J. Schlupp, Antoine Semenyo, M. Ashimeru, Salis A. Samed, J. Paintsil, E. Owusu have been outstanding for their respective clubs but Wakaso comes in with experience and operosity. Kwasi Okyere Wriedt and Samuel Owusu are not giving in either: especially, when Kamaldeen’s fitness remains a concern. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that not more than three would make the cut.


Sadly, though their inclusion in the provisional squad would enrich their portfolios, the next group hardly has any chance to represent Ghana at the world cup which kicks off on the 20th of this month. Anyone from this group, that makes the final list must certainly have something special up his sleeve. A long-time absentee and first-timer would find it as difficult as a camel passing through the eye of a needle, to get a ticket to Qatar unless, of course, he has something so unique or going as a mere squad member. This category include Afriyie Barnieh who, along with Danlad, has been phenomenal for Ghana at different national team levels. The two, plus Dennis Korsah, are the only hope of a representation of the home-based players. I honestly do not see Barnieh being ahead of Paintsil, Semenyo, Kamal Sowah and S. Owusu in the parking order. Others in this pool are Ekuban, Gyasi, Nuamah, A. Yiadom, R.B Yiadom, K. Nuhu, Ati-Zigi and others.
Considering the three categories, as classified above, those who find themselves in the second group are the ones who, genuinely, would be sitting on tenterhooks until 13th November.

Article by: Mr Gideon Sah


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