Appiah reflects on how he convinced Avram Grant for a place in Ghana's Afcon 2015 squad

The 28-year-old talks about his international career, focusing on his fascinating Equatorial Guinea campaign four years ago

AFC Wimbledon striker Kwesi Appiah has taken a trip down memory lane to his sensational inclusion in Ghana's squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Equatorial Guinea. 

Playing in the English fourth tier with Wimbledon on loan from Premier League outfit Crystal Palace at the time, the English-born player was undoubtedly the biggest surprise as the former Black Stars coach Avram Grant named his final squad for the continental showpiece. 

Appiah had never played for the West Africans until the call-up that would generate heavy media controversy in Ghana. 

“Signing for Crystal Palace raised my profile and people within the Ghanaian set-up started going: ‘Oh, who’s this guy?’ and they started paying attention as to whether I could be a future national team player," Appiah explained to Palace's official website ahead of next week's pre-season friendly with his current club. 

“They told me they’d keep track of and see how I progress. Few years later, I am on loan at Cambridge United in League Two, having an okay season and the team is doing well and having a good FA Cup run which had just seen us draw Manchester United for the next round.

“At the time, Ghana had just appointed Avram Grant and he was looking for more European talent and younger players that he could mould during his time in the national team; he was looking for a wildcard talent that could shake things up.

“Meeting up with the 30-man squad was totally overwhelming at the time, and during that period before the tournament there are two cuts down to 27 and then down to the final 23-man squad.”

It was certainly a Cinderella Story for Appiah as he would make his international debut in a 2-1 win over South Africa in their last group game and go on to score in a 3-0 triumph over Guinea in the quarter-final. The Black Stars finished second at the tournament. 

“I made the first cut and ahead of the second cut there are two friendly games, so I went to the manager and said: 'My hunger is different to anyone’s; what have I got to do to make this final cut? What do you want from me?' and he simply said: 'Show me what you’ve got.'

“I scored in the first game and that was it; I was in," Appiah continued.

“Making the squad was great but now I was thinking where exactly do I fit in? You’ve got the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew and Christian Atsu; big players who have played many games for the national team. 

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"I didn’t really know my place then but I knew I had been selected for a reason and that Avram could see my potential; I felt no pressure or nervousness, I was just hungry.”

Appiah's international adventure has unfortunately not followed up the way he anticipated due to a series of injuries.

In March, the 28-year-old earned a recall for national duty after four years but fell short of winning a place in the squad for Afcon in Egypt