Soccer News of Friday, 2 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
More than half of the 31 players of the Black Stars invited by Coach Avram Grant to prepare for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to take place between January 17 to February 8, 2015 are yet to report.
So far, 15 out of the 31 named by the head coach have reported to start training from today.
Sources close to the team told the Graphic Sports yesterday that time was running out and the handlers of the senior national team were highly expectant to have the full crop of players but circumstances such as the refusal of some of European clubs to release them was making it difficult for coaches to commence full—scale preparations.
Some players like Agyeman Badu are expected to play one or two matches for their clubs before joining the team.
In the meantime, the handlers of the Black Stars are in consultation with some of the clubs to come to a truce in order to get the players released but the situation is still dicey, especially when FIFA’s regulation allowed the players to be released ten days to the tournament.
The stars are expected to emplane to Spain by Monday and while there they will engage a German and a Spanish side in two warm—up matches.
The Black Stars have been tipped as one of the favourites to win this year’s continental championship since they last won it 33years ago. With the AFCON 2015 coming on the heels of their abysmal performance in Brazil during the World Cup which led to the sacking of Coach Kwasi Appiah and the subsequent hiring of Avram Grant, who is ably assisted by Coach Maxwell Konadu, the stars are expected to go all out at the tournament to raise the bar.
The erratic preparations of the team are therefore a major worry to the handlers. The list of players, as released by Coach Avram Grant, include Goalkeepers: Razak Braimah (Mirandes, Spain), Adams Stephen (Aduana Stars), Fatau Dauda (AshGold) and Ernest Sowah (Don Bosco, DR Congo).
Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia); John Boye (Erciyesspor, Turkey); Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France); Jeffery Schlupp (Leicester City, England); Awal Mohammed (Maritzburg, South Africa); Kwabena Adusei (Mpumalanga Black Aces, South Africa); Baba Rahman (Augsburg, Germany), Gyimah Edwin (Mpumalanga Black Aces, South Africa); Samuel Inkoom (Houston Dynamo, USA); Daniel Amartey, (FC Copenhagen, Denmark) as the defenders, Midfielders Rabiu Mohammed (Krasnodar, Russia); Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy); Afriyie Acquah (Parma, Italy); Solomon Asante (T.P. Mazembe, DR Congo); Christian Atsu (Everton, England); Mubarak Wakaso (Celtic, Scotland); Andre Ayew (Olympique Marseille, France); Alfred Duncan (Sampdoria, Italy); Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough, England); Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium); Adu Kofi (Malmo, Sweden); Ibrahim Moro (AIK Stockholm, Sweden) and Jordan Ayew (Lorient, France). Other are Abdul-Majeed Waris (Trabzonspor, Turkey); Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE); Kwesi Appiah (Cambridge United, England) and David Accam (Chicago Fire, USA) as the strikers.