Black Stars coach, Charles Kwablan Akonnor, has challenged the local players to work to bridge the performance gap existing between them and their foreign-based counterparts.
The 46-year-old gaffer believes if the local players would command playing time in the national team, they need to work hard and see their presence in the national team as not merely adding to the numbers but to challenge for a role in the team.
“The locals, when you see them with the professionals (foreign-based players), there is a big gap. And that is up to them (to work on that).”
“Of course, once I see a player doing well, I will give him that chance. They should also believe that they are coming to play, not even to be on the bench. And that will show automatically in training,” he told the Ghana Football Association (GFA) website.
Coach Akonnor handed call up to four local players— Hearts of Oak’s Richard Atta, Kwadwo Amoako of Ashgold, Asante Kotoko’s Habib Mohammed, and Yahaya Mohammed of Aduana Stars— to be part of the March 27 Ghana’s double header Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Sudan which was rescheduled due to the coronavirus.
But the former Wolfsburg midfielder wants the local stars to up their game and remain consistent to merit the opportunity in the national team.
“My research tells me in Ghana no player has been able to play three matches on the top. 3, 4 it’s a challenge [for them]. They should challenge me.
"First match on the high, second middle and third you drop, and fourth on the high, no!. They need to be consistent in their performance and they will automatically get in there,” he added.
Citing his era as an example, the ex-Asante Kotoko and Ashgold coach said they had a lot of local talents in the national team and added that he debut for the national team when he was playing on the local scene.
“When I started playing, the likes of Frimpong Manso, Emmanuel Armah ‘Senegal’, there were senior guys you know, ‘Mayanga’, Salifu Ansah the goalkeeper, we had majority of locals in the national team…I started playing in the national team as a local player before I traveled abroad,” he told the Ghana FA official channel.