Afcon 2021 qualifiers: Strasbourg ace Djiku rues Ghana absence for South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe clashes 

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Jean-Philippe Krasso Alexander Djiku Strasbourg Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 17012021Getty

Strasbourg defender Alexander Djiku is devastated to miss Ghana's upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe.

The centre-back was one of the conspicuous absentees as Black Stars coach CK Akonnor unveiled a 29-man squad for the double-header, his absence being a result of a fitness setback.

Since switching his international allegiance to Ghana last year, the France-born has featured in all four games played by the Black Stars until now.

"Sad not to be with my Black Stars brothers now, but I give you all my strength," Djiku posted on Twitter.

Ghana are set to take on South Africa in a penultimate matchday fixture of the qualifiers on Thursday before returning home to square off against Sao Tome and Principe on Sunday.

Born in the French city of Montpellier but of Ghanaian descent, Djiku was eligible to represent either nation at international level.

In October last year, he was called up by Ghana for the first time for friendlies against Mali and 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.

Playing in defensive midfield, he made his debut in what ended in a 3-0 loss to Mali but returned to his more familiar central defensive role as the Black Stars bounced back with a big 5-1 victory over Asian champions Qatar.

He received a second successive invitation for back-to-back matches against Sudan in the Afcon qualifiers last November, going on to feature in both games. 

"It was a source of great pride for me [to play for Ghana]. The international experience is not nothing, it brings me a lot of things. We still have two matches in March to qualify for the [Afcon]. I can't wait to go back and win these two matches to qualify," Djiku recently told Goal about his Ghana experience.

"I was called four-five years ago, but I had not yet found stability in a club. I first wanted to become an executive somewhere before joining the selection.

"We had to wait for the right moment, I was reaching maturity and it was time to go. Playing an [Afcon] would be really nice, but first you have to qualify.

"Then we will think about qualifying for the World Cup. It would be a dream to play in a World Cup too, I hope we will do what is necessary to go there."

Djiku could make a return to Ghana when Africa’s 2022 World Cup qualifying group stage commences in June.