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VIDEO: Baba Rahman, 5 others arrive in Black Stars camp

BY: Kweku Zurek
Baba Rahman, 5 others arrive in Black Stars camp
Baba Rahman, 5 others arrive in Black Stars camp

Six more players, including Chelsea’s Baba Abdul Rahman, joined Coach Charles Kwabla (CK) Akonnor's training camp yesterday, bringing the Black Stars squad to 16 ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Sudan at Cape Coast tomorrow.

Rahman, a reserve player of Chelsea, last played for the Stars at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt after picking a career-threatening injury at that tournament.

Also on the latest list were France-based duo of Alexander Djiku (Strasbourg FC) and John Boye (FC Metz), Christopher Nettey (Asante Kotoko), Lawrence Ati-Zigi (St Gallen) and striker Caleb Ekuban (Trabzonspor).

The Stars arrived in Cape Coast yesterday afternoon to finalise their preparations towards the game against Sudan at 4 p.m. tomorrow.

The spokesman of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Henry Asante Twum, revealed this to the Daily Graphic yesterday.

The new arrivals will be a big boost to Coach Akonnor as only 10 players turned up for the first day of training at the McDan La Town Park last Monday.

Players who took part in Monday's session included skipper Andre Ayew (Swansea City), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace), Emmanuel Lomotey, Afriyie Acquah, John Antwi, Razak Abalora, Tariq Fosu, Kwadwo Amoako, Samuel Owusu and Nicholas Opoku.

The current squad size means Ghana will not fall foul of the Confederation of African Football's latest COVID-19 guidelines, which stated among others, that a team will be considered to have lost 2-0 if it is unable to field a minimum number of players required — 11 plus four substitutes.

Withdrawals

The list of withdrawals on the part of Ghana increased on Monday following the confirmation of a thigh injury sustained by Arsenal midfielder, Thomas Partey, during Arsenal's 0-3 loss to Aston Villa in the English Premier League last Sunday, and Real Mallorca midfielder, Iddrisu Mohammed Baba.

Aside from that, Columbus Crew right-back, Harrison Afful, and Jiangsu Suning FC's Mubarak Wakaso could not be released by their clubs, while Germany U-21 attacker, Jamie Leweling, has reportedly turned down his first-ever call-up to the Black Stars.

Yet to report

Coach Akonnor is still awaiting the arrival of nine remaining players such as the quartet of Andrew Kyere Yiadom (Reading FC), Majeed Ashimeru (Red Bull Salzburg), Joseph Attamah Larweh (Kayserispor) and Clifford Aboagye (Tijuana FC), who were handed late call-ups on Monday.

Also yet to touch base with the team are five players named in the original 23-man squad, namely; goalie Richard Ofori (Orlando Pirates FC), defenders Gideon Mensah (Vitoria de Guimaraes), Anang Benson (MSK Zilina) and Joseph Aidoo (Celta Vigo), as well as a wing-back, Jeffery Schlupp of Crystal Palace.

The Black Stars will travel to Khartoum to play Sudan on November 17 in the reverse tie.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Prof. Peter Twumasi, has revealed that CAF had agreed to allow 200 supporters at the Cape Coast stadium to cheer on the Black Stars against Sudan tomorrow but his outfit was still negotiating for more fans at the stadium.

Disclosing this to the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview yesterday, Prof. Twumasi, however, stressed that the NSA would leave nothing to chance in ensuring that both fans and players complied with the COVID-19 protocols.