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Appiah: Akonnor’s faith in home-based players good for Ghana ahead of Afcon

21:14 BST 20/05/2021
Ismail Abdul Ganiyu Ghana
The former Juventus star is happy by the inclusion of more Ghana-based players in the national squad

Former Ghana skipper Stephen Appiah believes the inclusion of home-based players in the Black Stars squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament will boost the team’s chances.

While past Ghana coaches in recent times have mostly overlooked players in the local league, current boss CK Akonnor has charted a different path altogether.

In his most recent squad announced for international friendly matches against Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire on June 8 and 12 respectively, as many as eight home-based players made the cut.

“I think so because this season, the league is looking interesting and very competitive,” Appiah said when asked whether he thought Akonnor’s faith in home-based players bodes well, Citi Sports reports.

“Years back, there would have been a 12-year difference between the top two but this time around it is not like that.

“And all the teams have about three or four players that are outstanding and at a point, we were not seeing that.

“That means they are doing well and our league is going well.”

Asante Kotoko duo Razak Abalora and Ismail Abdul Ganiyu, Ibrahim Danlad of King Faisal, Legon Cities centre-back Joseph Adjei, Medeama midfielder Rashid Nortey, Gladson Awako of Great Olympics and Dreams FC man Philemon Baffour have been called up for the upcoming friendlies.

Steadfast FC’s 17-year-old starlet Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, who plays in the Ghana second-tier, has also been summoned, his second successive invitation to the senior side.

“Since I got the job [in January last year], I said I was going to give the locals a chance,” Akonnor said after handing debuts to five home-based players in March’s round of internationals against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe.

“When was the last time you saw a lot of locals in the squad? We are moving from one end into another, and I think today and in the last match against South Africa, we saw a lot of them and that’s helpful.

“It’s also up to them to do well and improve because we’re looking for the best.”

The Afcon tournament, originally scheduled for this year, has been postponed to run between January 9 and February 6 next year.