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Black Stars to miss key players for Mali, Qatar friendlies

BY: Maurice Quansah
Joseph Paintsil has been handed a late callup as replacement for Lumor Agbenyenu

Black Stars coach Charles Akonnor is set to miss some key players in his upcoming assignments against Mali and Qatar with first choice goalkeeper Richard Ofori ruled out of Ghana’s friendly games against Mali and Qatar.

The South Africa-based shot stopper will miss the matches because his work permit has expired and would require at least two weeks for it to be renewed. It leaves Coach Akonnor with just goalkeepers, Lawrence Ati-Zigi and Razak Abalora, available for selection.

Also missing in action are Egypt-based John Antwi who is also having visa issues as the Pyramid FC forward marksman has an expired work permit and would need not less than two weeks to secure a new one.

According to a Ghana Football Association (GFA) statement, Sporting Lisbon left-back Lumor Agbebyenu, who played on loan at Real Mallorca last season, could also not apply for a visa due to work permit complications.

Akonnor is unlikely to have the services of Ajax sensation Kudus Mohammed, who is reportedly injured and missed his side’s Eredivisie game against FC Gronigen, but the GFA is insisting the midfielder joins the national team in the Turkish city of Antalya on Tuesday for medical assessment.

In their absence, Akonnor has handed late call-ups to Turkey-based duo of Caleb Ekuban (Trabzonspor) and Joseph Paintsil (Ankaragucu) as replacements for Antwi and Agbenyenu, respectively.

Ghana will play the Eagles of Mali on October 9, before taking on 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar three days later. Both games will be played in Antalya, Turkey.