Ghana coach Akonnor explains recall of Chelsea’s Baba, Metz’s Boye and Afful

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John Boye of Ghana, Ellyes Joris Skhiri of Tunisia, 2019 Afcon
The Black Stars boss has shed more light on his decision to bring the three players back to the national team after a period of absence

Ghana coach CK Akonnor reveals he has handed a recall to FC Metz centre-back John Boye because of his experience at international level.

The 34-year-old centre-back was listed among 23 players for next month’s 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double-header against Sudan.

He has been summoned for international duty for the first since playing for the Black Stars at the 2019 Afcon tournament in Egypt, where Ghana exited the tournament at the Round of 16 stage. Germany U20 winger Jamie Leweling has also been called up.

“John Boye is again an old guy; all this is because of the fact that we want immediate solutions and therefore it is needed for us to deal with the experience and those who have been in such surroundings before,” Akonnor explained, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) website reports.

“They have the experience, been around the terrain before and know what it takes to play qualification and so I thought it wise to bring someone who’s doing well in Europe.

“People have talked about him and I think he deserves that chance and that’s why he’s here to support the team.”

Like Boye, Chelsea left-back Abdul Rahman Baba has been called up for the first time since playing at the Afcon tournament. Interestingly, he has been frozen out of the Blues’ first team to the second team.

“Baba Rahman was once a regular player here; due to injury, he was taken out,” Akonnor revealed.

“Now he is back, he is fit, he is playing very well with his team. Unfortunately, he has not had the chance to play in the first team. But he has had a couple of friendly matches since August, September and even recently 24th October, which he played against Liverpool’s second team.

“And these matches, he has played 90 minutes, some are 90 minutes, a lot of 90 minutes and of course 70 minutes.

“So, we have taken a lot of consideration, looking at the fact that we have a little bit of weakness within that area, the full backs so I thought it necessary to bring him to compete with Gideon on that side.”

There were more surprised in Akonnor’s latest call-up as Columbus Crew right-back Harrison Afull has also been summoned back for national duty. He last played for the Black Stars against Ethiopia in 2018.

“For me, I am looking for immediate solutions and if you want to do that you don’t want to play around, you want to go straight to the point and therefore the immediate solutions are those guys,” Akonnor said on the USA-based fullback.  

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“Again, on the right side, just recently, this young gentleman, Benson, who did very well.

“But he needs support, he needs the old guys to be around, to learn from them and therefore I thought it wise to bring around none other person than Harrison Afful, to back him up and of course support him and that is why Harrison is also there.”

Ghana are set to host Uganda for the first of the double-header in Cape Coast on November 12.