Ghana's 2019 AFCON squad: Five players snubbed by Kwesi Appiah
Kwesi Appiah’s 29-man provisional Ghana squad to start preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt was revealed on Wednesday, with bold call-ups for several young and inexperienced players like Samuel Owusu and Kwabena Owusu.
As expected, there were a number of omissions from the squad who will feel hard done by not going this year’s AFCON. Joy Sports Owuraku Ampofo takes a look at five players who missed out:
Harrison Afful – Defender
Ghana’s right back and Harrison Afful have become synonymous over the past five years. He has been to every AFCON tournament since 2013 and has amassed 80 appearances for the Black Stars since his emergence.
The Columbus Crew ace was having a good year playing 40 games since the start of last year. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken jaw against Atlanta United and has consequently been out of action since March 30.
According to Columbus Crew coach Caleb Porter, the experienced defender is on track to making a recovery from his injury and will be able to train by the end of May. Despite the timeline given by the coach, coach Kwesi Appiah decided to opt Harrison Afful from his squad.
Frank Acheampong – Winger
The 25-year-old was a member of Avram Grant’s 23 man squad for the 2017 AFCON. Frank Acheampong was officially included in the 2017 AFCON squad as a back-up left back but the feeling is he prefers to play much closer to the goal (on the wings).
The left winger was not included in the final Black Stars engagement before the call-up – games against Kenya and Mauritania, hence it could be inferred that the former Anderlecht winger was not included in the plans of coach Kwesi Appiah.
However, his numbers at club level are impressive. Acheampong, since making his move to Tianjin Teda permanent in November 2017, he has scored 17 goals for the Chinese club. He scored three goals and registered three assists in the 10-week old Chinese league this season.
Emmanuel Boateng – Striker
Burst onto the international scene after scoring a quickfire hat-trick against Barcelona in 2018.
He capped off his international debut against Japan by scoring a penalty and was destined for a lasted spell in the Black Stars. Unfortunately, a dip in form and an enticing move to China has left Emmanuel Boateng in the wilderness with nobody able to make a case for the 22-year-old.
This season, he has managed just 1 goal each for Levante (former club) and Dalian Yifang (current club). The former Rio Ave striker was part of Ghana’s under-20 national team in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The overarching feeling amongst Ghanaians is that Emmanuel Boateng is still young an has a lot of years ahead of him. However, a better game against Kenya in Kumasi could have seen the Dalian Yifang striker in the squad.
Bernard Tekpetey – Striker
With just two international caps under his belt, his exclusion from the squad shouldn’t raise eyebrows. Yet, his club form speaks volume for the 21-year-old.
Last season, Bernard Tekpetey joined German side SC Paderborn who were in the Bundesliga II. Thanks to Tekpetey, SC Paderborn will be in the Bundesliga from next season. He scored 11 goals whilst providing four assists in 36 appearances.
Hypothetically, 15 goal contributions in a season coupled with league promotion should be enough to propel a player into the Black Stars squad.
His numbers are better than the five strikers – Jordan Ayew (2 goals), Asamoah Gyan (4 goals), Caleb Ekuban (5 goals) Kwabena Owusu (10 goals), and Majeed Waris (8 goals) – invited by the head coach.
However, for Tekpetey, that won’t be enough as his deficit in terms of international experience proved to be the tiebreaker albeit making the 2017 AFCON squad. Just as Emmanuel Boateng, Tekpetey has time on his side and is definitely one for the future.
Richmond Boakye Yiadom – Striker
Another striker with better numbers compared to five selected. Since the start of 2018, Richmond Boakye Yiadom has scored 16 goals at club level. His omission comes as a shock considering his numbers.
In the 2018/19 season, Boakye Yiadom scored 13 league goals in just 15 matches. His feat even looks more appetising after factoring in the fact that he missed about three weeks of action after sustaining an injury at Mladost.
The Red Star Belgrade forward has been equally impressive whilst representing Black Stars of Ghana, six goals in 13 caps makes a good enough case for the 26-year-old.
The case of Yiadom is a strange one because strikers are supposed to score goals and that is what he has been doing over the last year.
Arguably the biggest shock in term of omissions from the squad because this essentially means Ghana will be going to this year’s AFCON without the country’s top scorer in Europe.