2014 World Cup Feature: Debutants in Ghana squad likely to be on the plane to Rio next month
By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
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Ghana head coach James Kwesi Appiah has named a considerable number of players with World Cup experience in his provisional 26-man squad for the 2014 World Cup but he has got 18 debutants fighting places in his final 23 squad.
Jonathan Mensah and Samuel Inkoom are the only defenders who were in the Milovan Rajevac squad that played in South Africa in the last FIFA World Cup.
Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan will be playing their third FIFA World Cup tournaments after playing in Ghana’s maiden campaign in Germany and at the mundial in South Africa.
Kevin-Prince Boateng, Andre Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah and Michael Essien complete a list of eight players who have competed at the World Cup finals in the past.
The rest of the 18 players in his provisional squad have not played at the World Cup levels before. GHANAsoccernet.com takes a look at the players who aiming for their debut chance.
Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey, Fatau Dauda and Stephen Adams.
The trio were not involved in the neither Ghana’s maiden campaign in Germany nor the second on African soil in South Africa. Four years ago at this time, Adam Kwarasey, the first keeper named by Kwesi Appiah at the presser, was still a Norwegian and could have played for the European country. He secured his nationality switch in 2011 and was taken to the 2012 AFCON in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Fatau Dauda’s place in the squad comes on the back of his impressive show at the 2013 AFCON and through the qualifiers. He is capped over ten times by Ghana.
Stephen Adams shows up as the only home-based player named in the squad. Adams plays for former Ghana Premier League champions Aduana Stars and won the heart of the Ghana squad selectors following his impressive form at the 2014 CAF CHAN tournament in South Africa.
Note: The three keepers who were picked by Milovan Rajevac for the 2010 World Cup include Richard Kingson, Stephen Ahorlu and Daniel Agyei.
Defenders: Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Harrison Afful (Esperance), Jeff Schulpp (Leicester City), John Boye (Stade Rennes), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor) and Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns).
Jonathan Mensah and Samuel Inkoom are the only two defenders named in the squad who played at the last World Cup in the defensive department the rest earn their places after their impressive recent performances.Daniel Opare, Harrison Afful, John Boye, Jerry Akaminko and Rashid Sumaila all played instrumental roles in the qualifiers and have been rewarded for their performances. The only outsider who is capped just once by the West African giants is Jeffrey Schulpp who plays for promoted English Premier League side Leicester City. Schulpp only appearance for the Black Stars came in 2012 in an international friendly against Gabon in London. His performance in the Championship has also secured his place.
Midfielders: Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan), Mohammed Rabiu (Kuban Krasnodar), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese), Afriyie Acquah (Parma), Christian Atsu (Vitesse Arnhem), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), David Accam (Helsingborg).
Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Kwadwo Asamoah and Andre Ayew have all got World Cup experience while the rest of the 7 players named in the department have had no experience at the event. Udinese star Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu could have played at the 2010 finals but was ruled out with a last minute injury. AC Milan’s Michael Essien also missed the last finals but played in Germany. Afriyie Acquah had not receive a call from Ghana since scoring to help Ghana qualify for the 2013 AFCON. David Accam has been invited once and is yet to be capped. However, he would have to vie for a place in Ghana’s midfield.
Strikers: Jordan Ayew (Sochaux) and Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes)
Asamoah Gyan along with Sulley Muntari are the only players who would be making their third appearances at the finals. Kevin-Prince Boateng named as a striker by Kwesi Appiah scored against the USA in South Africa on his first major tournament for Ghana. Jordan Ayew and Abdul Majeed Waris named in the strikeforce only marked their debuts for Ghana under three years ago. (Jordan Ayew 2011 and Majeed Waris in 2012). The duo both play in France and have scored 14 goals between them since January.