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Black Stars begin search for Diaspora players, want Hughton as new coach

By Christian Okpara
02 February 2022   |   4:04 am
Determined to ensure they beat Nigeria to the Qatar 2022 World Cup ticket, Ghana have opened their national team doors to overseas-born players, who have nationality links with the West African country.

Ghana’s players react after scoring their second goal during the Group C Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Ghana and Comoros at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 18, 2022. (Photo by Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP)

• Court Hudson-Odoi, Tariq Lamptey, Salisu Mohammed
Determined to ensure they beat Nigeria to the Qatar 2022 World Cup ticket, Ghana have opened their national team doors to overseas-born players, who have nationality links with the West African country.

Ghana and Nigeria have been paired in a contest for a Qatar 2022 World Cup ticket, with the qualifiers on home and away basis scheduled for next month.

Since the Black Stars failed to scale the first round of the ongoing Cameroun 2021 Africa Cup of Nations last month, the Ghana Football Association and the country’s government have been putting heads together to ensure they present a good team for the matches against Nigeria, whom they see as a very formidable obstacle to their World Cup dreams.

The team sacked their coach, Milovan Rajevac, immediately after their ouster from Cameroun and have meeting with two coaches, Otto Addo and Chris Houghton in their search for a new national team manager,

Former International, Charles Akonnor, has been trying to lure some Europe-based players with Ghanaian heritage to play for the Black Stars.

Akonnor recently told the media in Ghana that he has been speaking with some of the players, adding: “Those I spoke to want to play [for Ghana] but they are also not familiar with our lifestyle here. They don’t know what is going on, some probably just come here [briefly] and go back.

“They don’t know anything about us and I think it is important for us to encourage them to come here and see what is going on here. They are willing to come but they don’t know what it is [like here].”

“Talking of quality players, I think I made mention of six or five players which I believe are quality [players]. They’ll enhance the way we play, the way we go forward. These names are with the FA and the FA has already started working on it.”

Yesterday, Black Stars’ 2010 World Cup midfielder, Kevin Boateng, revealed that the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has been trying to convince some foreign players to switch nationalities and play for Ghana.

Those mentioned are Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey and Brian Brobbey of Ajax Amsterdam are a few players that the Ghana FA is currently courting.

Boateng believes the Black Stars must be made attractive to get quality overseas-born stars to pledge allegiance to the team.

“You have to make the team attractive for the players to want to play for Ghana. Ghana is one of the biggest countries in football and they have produced some of the world’s best players and I can’t put my thoughts together on why they lost to Comoros,” the Hertha Berlin forward said on Twitter Spaces.

“You have to make the players willing to come and play for their country and that comes with being successful and you can do that by winning games. You have to let them know that you have the big stage because every player want­­s a bigger platform.”

Among the players that have already agreed to play for Ghana is Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu, whose uncle, Yakubu Ahmed, revealed that he would be ready for the Ghana versus Nigeria play-off.

Ahmed revealed that Salisu has informed the family of his decision to finally play for the national team.

“He will be playing for Ghana soon. He has assured us that he will play in the World Cup qualifiers,” reports Ghanaweb.

Meanwhile, the Majority Leader in Ghana’s Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is championing Ghana government’s bid to get Houghton as national team coach, has described the former Tottenham and West Ham boss as a man who can build a team with average materials.

“Chris Hughton is a coach who knows how to build with average materials and that’s Ghana’s situation now,” the legislator said at the weekend.

“Our materials are not good so we need Chris to weld. Otto Addo is just a second coach for Dortmund.”

According to Ghanaweb, Hughton and Otto Addo are, however, the frontrunners for the vacant job, although the government and the GFA are not in agreement.

The former, though, is currently in the country and was recently pictured meeting with the father of Callum Hudson-Odoi in Accra.

Meanwhile, the delegation from the FA is also reported to have travelled to Germany to speak with Addo over the vacant coaching role.