Afful blames Ghana team for early 2017 club woes

Trevor Ruszkowski
The 31-year-old believes his lack of pre-season action due to national commitment affected his start to last term's MLS

Columbus Crew full-back Harrison Afful says his time with Ghana national team early last year contributed to his initial struggles with his club during the 2017 season.

With the Black Stars at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, the left-back joined Crew late in training, consequently missing a pre-season camp in Brazil.

His return to club action was met by fitness setbacks, and was, thus, forced out of games.

“Last year was a bit difficult for me because I didn’t start with the team for the whole pre-season,” Afful said, as reported by The Columbus Dispatch .

“This year, thank God I’m able to start with them and then finish with them also.

“It takes a while [to find your rhythm], you know? The national team is not like the club level. 

"Some of the facilities you get at the club level are way better than the national team, so it was very tough for me, but what can I say?

“I’m a player, so when the national team needs me, I have to go and do my best to help the nation.”

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However, Afful did regain fitness and form as he made 29 Major League Soccer appearances as Crew reached the Eastern Conference semi-finals. 

He started 26 of the games and netted once.