2014 World Cup Feature: Ten Ghana players who won’t miss Brazil call-up
By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
Follow Akyereko on Twitter: @AkyerekOfficial
As Ghana head coach James Kwesi Appiah looks set to name his provisional 30-man squad for the 2014 World Cup, GHANAsoccernet.com predicts 10 players will never miss the flight to Rio next month.
Michael Essien – AC Milan
The ex-Chelsea star missed the 2010 World Cup with injury but his experience from Ghana’s maiden World Cup campaign eight years ago could still come good for the West Africa. Though inconsistent at AC Milan, Essien is regarded as one of the most fearsome African midfielders after Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure and couple few. Ghana fans believe Essien exhibited part of remaining strong points in the 6-1 thrashing of Egypt in the African play-offs and would be key for the Black Stars campaign.
Sulley Muntari – AC Milan
Muntari along with Asamoah Gyan are the only two players left in the current Ghana squad who have played at both of Ghana’s World Cup campaigns and is set to make his third and probably final appearance at the mundial. The 29-year-old is capped 79 times by Ghana with 19 competitive goals, leaving him to be one of the most experienced players in the Ghana squad. Muntari played an influential role in the qualifying campaign and is regarded as a talisman of the Ghana team and has scored two FIFA World Cup goals.
Asamoah Gyan – Al Ain
The 28-year-old is only a goal shy to equal Roger Milla’s 5 goal African record at the World Cup and is the other player in the Ghana team apart from Sulley Muntari who have played at all two of Ghana’s World Cup campaign. The former Sunderland and Udinese striker is on his way to becoming Ghana’s all-time top-scorer after scoring 39 goals for the West African giants. Gyan has reached 100 goals in the United Arabian Emirates where he plays for Al Ain and he is expected to translate his impressive scoring form from the Arabian Gulf League to Rio.
Kwadwo Asamoah – Juventus
Asamoah is one of Kwesi Appiah’s key players and there would be no point in dropping him from his final squad for the Brazil. The Juventus star is one of the most consistent Ghanaian players abroad this season and has helped Juventus to win the Scudetto in Italy and also propelled them to the semis of the Uefa Europa League. Asamoah’s versatility allows him to switch and play successfully in 3-5-2 formation in Antonio Conte’s favourite system, alternating as a full-back and a winger. Though the former Udinese midfielder has failed live up to expectations in the Ghana shirt, he is tipped as the player to watch in Brazil.
Andre Ayew – Olympique Marseille
The Olympique Marseille star was nominated for the Young Player Award at the 2010 World Cup but missed out to Thomas Muller. Andre has been influential for Ghana since leading the U20s to become the first African country to win the FIFA U20 World Cup. His experience at the last World Cup is important for Kwesi Appiah is one of the strongest parts of the Ghana squad.
Kevin-Prince Boateng – Schalke 04
The Schalke 04 star is statistically regarded as Ghana’s best player with high qualities as most rating sites peck him at 8/10. Boateng is a trequartista and every country need a player of his calibre at a big tournament like the World Cup. The former German youth international has good and inside knowledge about Ghana’s group opponents as he scored against the USA at the last World Cup and played along most of Germany’s regulars at youth level. His return from a temporary break inspired the Black Stars to victory over Egypt and scored in the second-leg in Cairo.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu – Udinese
Injury ruled him out for the 2010 World Cup but has returned stronger and been influential in Ghana’s games. Since playing his debut senior tournament at the Angola 2010 AFCON, the hard-tackling midfielder has grown as a player and has matured into a world class midfielder. Badu would be key for the Black Stars in central midfield in Brazil and cannot be left home.
Abdul Majeed Waris – Valenciennes
Recently, the most popular name among Ghana fans. Waris scored three times to aid Ghana’s qualification campaign including goals against Zambia and Egypt at the Baba Yara Stadium. The on-loan Spartak Moscow striker also soared his popularity in the French Ligue 1 by scoring 9 goals for relegated Valenciennes between January and April. The 22-year-old is regarded as second in command to Asamoah Gyan is Ghana’s attack and will make the final squad by hook or crook.
Samuel Inkoom – FC Platanias
Inkoom has regained his confidence after gaining regular action in the Greek Super League with Platanias after joining them on loan from Ukrainian side FC Dnipro. Inkoom consistency at club level comes as good news for Kwesi Appiah who looks likely to fall on the former Asante Kotoko defender for the right-back role. Inkoom played at the 2010 World Cup and has four tournament experience after playing at four different AFCON tournaments.
Adam Kwarasey – Stromsgodset
Though the 26-year-old has not commanded a starting role in Ghana’s team for recent games but is only goalkeeper tipped for an automatic place in Kwesi Appiah’s final 23-man squad. After the disastrous 2012 AFCON campaign in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, South African-based Fatau Dauda pushed him out and occupy the place. However, the Norwegian-born’s impressive form including quality reflexes and feline agility in the Norwegian top-flight which guarded Stromsgodset to the title, he is billed to be on the plane and a favourable section of the Ghanaian fans want him to start in Brazil.