By Ed Dove
Over the last few days, Ghana fans have been using the app I created to present their own preferences for the pre-World Cup squad.
In due time, I will provide analysis and comment on the fans’ consensus, so take a moment to choose your would-be preliminary squad and publicise it. In the meantime, read on to discover my Ghana World Cup 30.
You can find the Squad Selector here: Ghana 2014 World Cup Squad Selector
Adam Kwarasey- Having started the recent friendly against Montenegro, Kwarasey looks set to become the main beneficiary from Fatau Dauda’s inactivity in South Africa. He also has tournament experience, having been the Black Stars’ Number 1 during the 2012 Cup of Nations.
Fatau Dauda- The erstwhile first choice has been usurped after struggling to impose himself in the Cape, he was first choice as recently as November, however, for the play-off victories over Egypt, and I would be surprised if he did not travel to Brazil.
Steven Adams- Daniel Agyei was a more regular member of the Ghana squad during 2013, but after Adams’s fine showings at the recent Championship of African Nations, I expect him to nick the last goal-keeping berth.
Jerry Akaminko- Turkey-based stopper who has grown in stature during the absence of John Boye; he has started Ghana’s last three games, including both play-off matches against Egypt, indicating the level of the manager’s faith in him.
John Boye- Remains a key man for the national side despite recently missing over five months of action through injury. Was reinstalled to the first XI against Montenegro and should start in Brazil.
Daniel Opare- Has overcome disappointment early in his career to establish himself within the national set-up. Was dropped after the 2012 AFCON, but has returned to start four of the last six matches.
Harrison Afful- A versatile, talented option who has missed only one call-up since early 2012. Can play in either full-back position, or in midfield, and will definitely travel to Brazil.
Jonathan- Featured as a teenager at the last World Cup following injury to Isaac Vorsah, and deputised for the Salzburg man through the middle of 2013.
Isaac Vorsah- Talented ball-playing centre-back who has struggled extensively with injuries. Should receive a spot in the 30, and an opportunity to prove his fitness, but faces a battle to make the final 23.
Samuel Inkoom- Rehabilitated right-back who escaped difficult circumstances in the Ukraine to revive his career (and his Black Stars prospects) in Greece.
Rashid Sumaila- Towering centre-back who started both play-off matches against Egypt and will probably just squeeze out Mohamed Awal.
David Addy- Portugal-based left-back who has struggled to hold down a starting spot in the Ghana side. Started against Montenegro, but has regularly missed out on tournament squads since making his debut back in 2008.
Jeffrey Schlupp- Leicester City left-back who has become a popular option after his fine promotion-winning season in England. Could emerge as a valuable weapon for the Black Stars.
Ed Dove's Ghana Starting XI
Kwadwo Asamoah- The squad’s outstanding individual, and a double Scudetto winner in Italy, but he risks being pushed into wide positions to accommodate some of the squad’s less-versatile individuals.
Michael Essien- The Bison isn’t as dominant a figure as he used to be, but the ferocity and the drive have been replaced by poise and precision. Returned to the side with aplomb against Egypt and could be set for a magical international swansong.
Sulley Muntari- Like Essien, a Champions League winner, although Muntari has never enjoyed the fame and repute of his compatriot. Offers versatility and excellent delivery, and scored a stunning goal in the quarter-final defeat to Uruguay four years ago.
Prince- Volatile star who ended his self-imposed international exile for the Egypt play-offs and offers drive from midfield.
Andre Ayew- The ‘Great Hope’ may not be as impactful as many of us had once hoped he would be, but he is maturing and will be a valuable asset for Ghana now that he has returned to the national set-up.
Mohammed Rabiu- Has returned to form in Russia after an injury lay-off, but it may be too little too late to claim a spot in the 23, particularly considering the intense competition in midfield.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu- An energetic counterpoint to his more lethargic counterparts in the heart of the park. Offers dynamism but has a tendency to waste good positions with wayward shooting.
Albert Adomah- Perhaps underappreciated by Ghana fans, the Middlesbrough man can play on either flank and has even performed as a right wing-back for his club side this season. Hasn’t missed a squad since June 2012.
Wakaso Mubarak- A big game player who was a rare ray of light in Ghana’s disappointing 2013 AFCON showing. Offers quality from set-pieces and can operate across the midfield. A valuable squad player.
Tony Annan- A dismal stint at Schalke looks set to end this summer, but questions remain about whether the one-dimensional Annan can perform in Appiah’s system. Can be a useful asset late in games if used correctly.
The Black Stars face a daunting task this summer
Solomon Asante- The diminutive winger served Ghana well throughout 2013, but has all-but been squeezed out of the squad by the returning superstars. A long shot for a World Cup berth.
Afryie Acquah- A midfielder of genuine quality who is popular among Black Stars fans and arguably boasts a better all-round game than Agyemang-Badu. But will Appiah be tempted?
Christian Atsu- Provides the midfield with the kind of width, pace and directness that few other players can offer. Likely to be used as a substitute and could perform to great effect.
Asamoah Gyan- Skipper and talisman who will be looking to recreate the starring performances of the last World Cup.
Majeed Waris- Striker who could well lead the line if Appiah opts for two strikers—has enjoyed a terrific goal-scoring start to 2014 after moving on loan to Ligue 1’s Valenciennes.
David Accam- Has emerged from nowhere to be a popular contender for the squad. Has apparently attracted the interest of Manchester United, and might provide a greater threat than Mahatma Otoo or goal-shy Richmond Boakye.
Jordan Ayew- Has begun to demonstrate the qualities that made him such a prodigious youngster at Olympique Marseille since moving to Sochaux on loan. If the Lions do escape relegation—and they still have two games to play—they will look upon Ayew as a key architect of their survival.