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Seven locally-based players likely to make CK Akonnor’s Black Stars squad

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Ghana coach Charles AkonnorGhana coach Charles Akonnor

Ghana coach Charles Akonnor will announce his squad for the 2020 FIFA World Cup qualifying double-header against South Africa in late August and Ethiopia in early September.

Akonnor together with Ghana FA technical director Bernard Lippert keenly followed the performance of players on the domestic scene during the recently ended 2020/21 season. Lippert at some point sounded convinced about the performance of some Ghana Premier League players and even hinted about some call up.

Nine home-based players made the grades in the squad that played against Morocco and the Ivory Coast in international friendlies in June though it was just Rashid Nortey and Abdul Ismail Ganiyu who got the opportunity to taste action in those game.

The June games were much more like a preparatory platforms to test the players readiness for the qualifiers but South Africa and Ethiopia coming is now the real hurdle to cross and Akonnor will need players at their best and these Ghana Premier League stars who glittered in the course of the season must not miss out of the squad.

Fatawu Mohammed – Hearts of Oak

The 29-year-old has been widely praised for his contribution towards Hearts of Oak success story. His surging runs and workaholic defensive displays for the Phobians scored him high marks in both the MTN FA Cup and the Ghana Premier League. The former WAFA defender probably enjoyed his best season at Hearts since his arrival in 2013. With the seemingly lack of solution at Ghana’s persistent right-back Akonnor must definitely hand Fatawu a call up.

2. Benjamin Afutu – Hearts of Oak

If you are looking out for one of the key factors in Hearts of Oak’s success story in the season there is no use looking beyond the central midfielder. During the season he became a specialist for headed goals as he netted 5 times in the league and also grabbed a few crucial goals in the FA Cup. His performance in the middle for Samuel Boadu’s side got many fans drooling with some claiming he could walk straight into the Black Stars No.6 position and make it his own.

3. Daniel Afriyie Barnieh – Hearts of Oak

What a season for the 20-year-old. He loved to motor down defences tired with his untiring energy sapping runs and incredible ability on the ball. From winning the WAFU Zone B U20 gold medal to scoring the winning goal for Ghana at the U20 AFCON the youngster has enjoyed a season remember and Akonnor will have no reason to leave him out of his squad for the game. He was even the top scorer of the MTN FA Cup with 6 goals.

4. Richard Osei Agyemang – AshantiGold

The 26-year-old’s display in the MTN FA Cup final against Hearts of Oak convinced everybody about his quality and maturity in his role as a central defender. He single-handedly shut down the Hearts attack system as he pocketed Afriyie Barnieh and reduced Isaac Mensah to deep-lying forward. Good news is both Akonnor and Lippert watched the game from the stands and got first hand account of his performance. Osei Agyemang’s performance was no fluke as he has been known for such impressive performances during his days at Berekum Chelsea and Asante Kotoko.

5. Salifu Ibrahim – Hearts of Oak

He was voted the best home-based player at the 2021 Ghana Football Awards following his diamond-gilded performance for Techiman Eleven Wonders and Hearts of Oak in the season. Annor Walker has called him up for his Black Stars B side but that is not where the mercurial midfielder belongs because his true play is the main Black Stars. Salifu demonstrated to everyone that he has got the knack to be a world beater and his performance for Hearts in the second round of the season must earn him a place.

6. Philimon Baffour – Dreams FC

Consistent performance in the Ghana Premier League for Dreams FC. Hearts of Oak coach Samuel Boadu and AshantiGold defender Richard Osei Agyemang both praised the young defender in their recent interviews on Pure FM. The 20-year-old had an outstanding year with the Ghana U20 and capped it with impressive displays for Dreams in the Ghana Premier League. He must not miss out on a call up.

7. Richard Attah – Hearts of Oak

Strong, towering and gigantic. The former Okyeman Planners goalkeeper has unfinished business with the Ghana coach. Akonnor handed him a call up in his first invitation as Ghana coach but the COVID-19 outbreak scampered everything for the 26-year-old. But, now is the time. In the last 13 games of the season Attah captured his form and remained resolute and huge factor in goal for the Phobians as they won the double.

Source: ghanasportsline.com

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