Waris, Dwamena dropped from Ghana’s final 23-man AFCON squad – debutantes Ofori, Tekpetey named

Ghana Black Stars

In-form striker Abdul-Majeed Waris and Austria second tier top scorer Raphael Dwamena were surprisingly dropped in favour of debutantes Ebenezer Ofori and Bernard Tekpetey in Ghana’s final 23-man squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon.

Coach Avram Grant also axed Turkey-based midfielder Attamah Larweh who was part of the provisional squad named on Monday.

This means the Black Stars will travel to the tournament with a squad dominated by players who played in the last edition where they reached the final.

The Israeli manager kept faith with all the starting players who helped him to reach the final of the competition in Equatorial Guinea two years ago.

Key Ghana players Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew, Mubarak Wakaso, Christian Atsu and Jonathan Mensah all named in the squad.

Mensah, who joined American side Columbus Crew just yesterday, and Edwin Gyimah were named in the squad despite fitness concerns but the coach is certain they will be fit for the tournament.

Leicester ace Daniel Amartey, was included as was another English Premier League player, Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew of West Ham.

Aston Villa’s Jordan Ayew – Andre’s brother – was one of three English Championship players named, alongside Christian Atsu of Newcastle and Andy Diadom of Barnsley.

Despite the presence of the players who excelled the last time, some new blood have been injected into the team with Sweden-based talented midfield supremo Ofori, a surprise inclusion.

So is Germany-based Tekpetey who played in the Ghanaian third tier just last year but following his progress with Bundesliga giants Schalke he has been given the chance.

Tekpetey who plays for German side Schalke will get the chance for his showing in the wings while Sweden-based Ofori looks to be the like-for-like replacement for Kwadwo Asamoah.

The major concern for Black Stars fans is that most Ghanaians is that the two strikers dropped by Grant have scored more goals combined than the five strikers named by the coach.

Waris, who was named the best player for French side Lorient just last month having scored four goals in four matches, was left out even though he has garnered enough experience at international level.

Dwamena, the 23-goal man at the halfway stage of the Austria second tier, won the hearts of many supporters who watched the Black Stars training in Accra yet he was not considered.

Fatau Dauda was a last-minute replacement for Adam Kwarasey who failed to recover from a back injury after the latter was named in the provisional squad.

The depth in Ghana’s squad is obvious as other top players like Juventus playmaker Kwadwo Asamoah, Leicester City ace Jeffery Schlupp as well as suspended duo of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari were not considered.

The Black Stars are now in the UAE for a training camp in preparation for the tournament.

The tournament kicks off in Gabon on 14 January.

Ghana will be based in Port-Gentil where they will face Mali, Egypt and Uganda in Group D.

The Black Stars’ first match will be against Uganda on 17 January.


Goalkeepers: Razak Braimah (Cordoba, Spain), Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars) and Fatau Dauda (Enyimba, Nigeria)

Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Andy Yiadom (Barnsley, England), Baba Rahman (Schalke, Germany), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), (John Boye (Sivasspor, Turkey), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew, USA), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Edwin Gyimah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)

Midfielders: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy), Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain) Mubarak Wakaso (Panathinaikos, Greece), Christian Atsu (Newcastle, England), Ebenezer Ofori (AIK Stockholm, Sweden), Samuel Tetteh (Leifering, Austria)

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ahli, UAE) Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa, England), Andre Ayew (West Ham, England), Ebenezer Assifuah (Sion, Switzerland), Bernard Tekpetey (Schalke, Germany)

Source: GhanaSoccerNet