Head Coach of the Black Stars of Ghana, Milovan Rajevac, has named a 30-man provisional squad for the 2021 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations slated for Cameroon early next year. The revelation was made on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 during a press conference at the GFA Headquarters in Accra.
Coach Milovan handed call ups to four debutants; Khlaid Abdul Mumin of Vitoria de Guimaraes and Salis Abdul Samed from French Ligue 1 side Clermont Foot. Others are Maxwell Abbey Quaye of Accra Great Olympics and David Abagna of Real Tamale United. Quaye and Abagna are two local based players who have been in terrific form in the ongoing Ghana Premier League.
Also included in the squad is Arsenal midfielder, Thomas Teye Patey, who missed last month’s World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and South Africa due to injury. The midfielder has since returned to full fitness and featured regularly for Arsenal in the Premier League. His absence will definitely affect the Gunners who have suddenly turned their fortunes around after a spasmodic start in the English Premier League this season.
Belgium based winger Joseph Paintsil has also been handed a call by the Serbian tactician, Rajevac, ahead of the tournament in Cameroon next year.
17-day training camp in Doha, Qatar
According to the Ghana Football Association (GFA), the Black Stars will begin camping on Wednesday, December 22, 2021 in Doha, Qatar for a 17-day training camp in preparation for the Cup of Nations which kicks off on Sunday, January 9, 2022.
To put the team in good shape in its quest to end the 40-year trophy drought, the Black Stars will play three friendly matches while in Qatar. The Ghana Football Association has already concluded talks with Algeria while engagements are on-going for two additional matches. Earlier reports say, the GFA contacted Egypt and Sudan for a possible friendly match before the tournament but confirmation is yet to be given by the GFA.
The four-time African Champions are drawn in Group C alongside North African Giants, Morocco, as well as Gabon and Comoros.
On Saturday, December 18, 2021, Frenchman Patrice Neveu, Head Coach of the Panthers of Gabon unveiled a 30-man provisional squad steered by skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was recently stripped off the captain armed band for the Gunners, Arsenals in the English top flight.
CAF decided to go ahead with the tournament despite concerns raised by European clubs amid the spread of the new COVID-19 Variant, Omicron. Earlier reports suggested CAF was going to cancel the tournament for the second year running, but the Continent’s football governing body decided to go ahead with the tournament as scheduled after long hours of deliberations last week.
The Black Stars will kick start the tournament with a crucial game against the Atlas Lions of Morocco on January 10, 2022 before taking on Gabon four days later. Ghana will wrap up its Group C matches on January 18, 2022 with Comoros.
Full Provisional Squad
Goalkeepers: Joseph Wolacott (Swindon Town), Abdul Manaf Nurudeen (Eupen), Richard Attah (Hearts of Oak), Lawrence Ati Zigi (St. Gallen)
Defenders: Andy Yiadom (Reading FC), Philemon Baffuor (Dreams FC), Baba Abdul Rahman (Reading FC), Gideon Mensah (Girondins Bordeaux), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City), Alexander Djiku (Strasbourg FC), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew), Khalid Abdul Mumin (Vitoria de Guimaraes)
Midfielders: Baba Iddrissu (Real Mallorca), Edmund Addo (Sherif Tiraspol), Thomas Teye Partey (Arsenal FC), Mubarak Wakaso (Shenzhen FC), Mohammed Kudus (Ajax Amsterdam), Daniel Kofi Kyere (St. Pauli), David Abagna (Real Tamale United), Salis Abdul Samed (Clermont Foot)
Wingers: Abdul Fatawu Issahaku (Dreams FC), Samuel Owusu (Al-Fayha), Kamaldeen Suleymana (Rennes FC), Dede Ayew (Al Sadd SC), Joseph Paintsil (Genk)
Strikers: Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace), Richmond Boakye Yiadom (Beitar Jerusalem), Maxwell Abbey Quaye (Great Olympics), Felix Afena Gyan (AS Roma), Benjamin Tetteh (Malatyaspor).