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September 18, 2018

Stars face acid test:Ghana unveil star-studded team ahead of 2019 Afcon qualifier on September 8

Inter Milan’s Kwadwo Asamoah in action against U.S Sassuolo  at Mapei Stadium  recently.
/ REUTERS
Inter Milan’s Kwadwo Asamoah in action against U.S Sassuolo at Mapei Stadium recently. / REUTERS
Inter Milan midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah headlines the final 21-man Ghanaian squad set to face Kenya in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match on September 8 at Kasarani Stadium.
Ghana, under the stewardship of Kwesi Appiah, will be seeking their second Pool F win, having annihilated Ethiopia 5-0 in the opening preliminary match while the hosts will count on home advantage to redeem themselves from a disappointing 2-1 loss away to Sierra Leone.
The midfielder, who missed the 2016-2017 season with a sprained knee which required a surgery is the only survival of the dreaded 2010 squad which reached the World Cup quarter finals in South Africa before bitterly falling to Uruguay in post match penalties semi-final bound clash.
His return to the national team after four years of absence having last played for Black Stars in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, brings experience and his combination with the fast rising midfielders will help unlock the Kenyan midfield which is facing test with key man and skipper Victor Wanyama still an injury doubt.
Other notable inclusions are deadly winger and former Chelsea man Christian Atsu, who currently plies his trade with Newcastle and Caf Champions League winning right back Harrison Afful who aided Esperance to the lucrative African crown in 2012, flooring Wydad Casablanca 1-0 in the finals.
Leicester City centre half Daniel Armatey who was guilty to concede the first penalty of the 2018 English Premier League against Manchester United, has been drafted in the team alongside Atletico Madrid’s utility player and Uefa Super Cup winner Thomas Partey. Other senior players axed are freekick and penalty specialist Mubarak Wakaso, EPL winner Jeff Schlupp and Levante hitman Emmanuel Boateng.
Notable exclusions are skipper and all time leading top scorer Asamoah Gyan and the siblings duo of Andre and Dede Ayiew. The former Sunderland danger man boasts of 41 goals for his country and his snub hints a probable start of the post Gyan era where budding strikers will have a herculean task in filling his shoes.Populary known as Baby Jet, Gyan led Ghana to a quarter final World Cup finish in 2010 which was preceded by a runners up finish in the African Cup of Nations held the same year in Angola where they fell 1-0 to Egypt in the finals. Similarly the Ayiew brothers have been regular starters for the country particularly Dede who was part of the dreaded 2010 team. The black stars are set to hit an Ethiopian based camp September 3-7 before jetting in for the clash set for Kasarani Stadium.
Full squad—Goalkeepers: Lawrence Ati (Sochaux, France), Richard Ofori (Martizburg,South Africa); Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus, USA) Daniel Opare (Antwerp,Belgium) Kassim Nuhu (1899 Hoffenheim, Germany) John Boye (FC Metz, France) Daniel Amartey ( Leicester City, England) Andy Yiadom (Reading Football Club, England) Nicholas Opoku (Udinese, Italy); Midfielders: Afriyie Acquah (Empoli, Italy) Isaac Sackey ( Alanyaspor, Turkey) Ebenezer Ofori (New York City FC, USA) Christian Atsu (Newcastle, England) Edwin Gyasi (CSKA Sofia, Bulgaria) Kwadwo Asamoah (Inter Milan, Italy) Frank Acheampong (Tianjin Teda, China) Nana Ampomah (Waasland-Beveren, Belgium); Forward: Raphael Dwamena (Levante UD, Spain) Thomas Partey (Atlético) Majeed Waris (FC Nantes) William Owusu (Antwerp, Belgium)
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