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Sports News Wed, 14 Oct 2020

Akonnor: How Ghana coped without key players for friendlies and Afcon qualifiers

Ghana coach CK Akonnor is looking forward to the return of the likes of Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Mohammed Kudus for 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying assignments in November.

The 20-year-old, together with Crystal Palace midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp, missed the Black Stars' recent friendly matches against Mali and Qatar due to injury while Sporting Lisbon left-back Lumor Agbenyenu, goalkeeper Richard Ofori Antwi and Egypt-based John Antwi were also absent due to visa-related challenges.

Ghana lost 3-0 to Mali on Friday but responded positively with a 5-1 annihilation of Asian champions and 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.

"Well it is tough enough to get the players who couldn’t make it onboard for the next game," Akonnor said, as reported by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) official website.

"But the players who came, everybody has shown his talent, what he can do and what he cannot do.

"Most probably, we have around 40 players in our data, it means that when we are going to a match and we look at the strength of the opponent, we look at the qualities we have and what can be efficient and effective for us and we make the call ups.

"But of course, the likes of Kudus, John Antwi, Richard Ofori and Agbenyenu were not here but I believe that some of them will be joining us very soon for the next qualifying game."

Akonnor initially joined Ghana's technical team as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach following the exit of James Kwasi Appiah in January.

Under Appiah, the Black Stars began the Afcon qualifiers on a bright note with wins over South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe in the opening games.

In November, Ghana return to action with matchdays three and four action against Sudan in a double-header.

"Of course, we want to continue from where he left off," Akonnor opined.

"Fortunately for me, I was there before he [Appiah] left and I am continuing from there.

"There is always heat, whether a friendly match or a competitive match and that heat will always be there and we are made of that kind of thing.

"Ghana will not accept any loss and therefore it is important for us to work hard to always achieve success.

"We have got to be alert, the way we do things and I strongly believe that once the boys come in numbers to honour that match, we will do our best to get a win."

The October friendlies were Akonnor's first match assignments at the helm of affairs as Ghana head coach.
Source: goal.com
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