Interim Coach of Ghana’s male national football team, Otto Addo, has named a 27-man squad for the upcoming crucial FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 play-off double header against West African archrivals, Nigeria.
The team is dominated by foreign-based players who ply their trade in England, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, USA, and South Africa. The only home-based player to make the squad is Hearts of Oak’s left-back, Dennis Nkrumah Korsah, who has been in superb form since joining the defending champions in January 2022 from relegated Cape Coast-based Ebusua Dwarfs.
In all, four debutants made the squad: Dennis Odoi, Dennis Korsah, Felix Afena Gyan, and Elisha Owusu. Joseph Aidoo, Richard Ofori, Yaw Yeboah and Mohammed Kudus made a return to the squad after missing the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. “I was a little surprised. These are essential matches. I could even participate in the next World Cup”, 33-year Dennis Odoi told reporters after receiving his debut national call-up.
Meanwhile, Black stars’ captain, Andrew Dede Ayew will miss the crucial game as he is currently serving a suspension following a red card he picked up against Comoros in the 2021 AFCON earlier this year in Cameroon. The Black Stars put up one of its worst performances in the 2021 AFCON, finishing bottom of Group C with just a lone point.
Technical team hopeful of Ghana’s qualification
In a press briefing, Technical Advisor of the Black Stars, Chris Hughton, said “I’ll like to urge Ghanaians to remain calm and positive about the team because we strongly believe we have the quality, desire and hunger to achieve the results that we want. It is our aim to qualify for the Qatar World Cup and we all have a duty to make that dream a reality”.
Chris Hughton said “Ghana has done it before, and we can guarantee you that everybody associated with the Black Stars wants this opportunity again to perform on a world stage”. To him, this moment presents an opportunity to write history and “we – players, technical staff, Ghana Football Association and the government – are all committed to it”. The former Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club manager assured Ghanaians that “We value your support, we are Ghana and we are ready”.
The Back Stars will take on the Super Eagles of Nigeria in two matches scheduled for Kumasi and Abuja respectively, as the search for a ticket to November’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar heats up. There were agitations from the media and other supporters for what they described as “undue delay” in the release of the squad, especially when the team’s opponent had already released its squad earlier this month.
Black Stars to depart Accra today
The Black Stars are expected to depart Accra for Kumasi on the eve of Tuesday, March 22, 2022 to begin preparation for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 play-off first leg tie against Nigeria. The team is expected to undertake an official training at the Baba Yara Sports stadium on Thursday, March 24, 2022 where the head coach and the players will have an engagement with the media.
Ghana will host the 1st leg at the Baba Yara Sports stadium on Friday, March 25 at 19:30 hrs GMT before travelling to Abuja for the 2nd leg on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. In all, Ghana and Nigeria have played 8 world cup qualifying games with two wins apiece and 4 draws.
On March 25, 2022, there will be five attention-grabbing World Cup qualifying games on the African continent with the second legs set to be completed next week. In what will be a repeat of the 2021 AFCON final, Senegal will face Egypt in Cairo as the Pharaohs seek a revenge. Before that trilling encounter, Cameroon will face Algeria at 17:00 hrs GMT, the same time Tunisia will renew its rivalry with the Eagles of Mali. In the early kick-off, the Atlas Lions of Morocco will take on the Leopards of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the Pentecost Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa.