Ghana ring the changes |
Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic revealed several surprises when he named his final 23-man squad for the World Cup finals on Friday, the first of the five African representatives to do so.
The Serbian-born coach has made wholesale changes from the squad which performed so badly in the African Nations Cup in January, including a call-up for uncapped defender Habib Mohamed and recalls for Shilla Alhassan Illiasu and Razak Pimpong, who had played no part in Ghana's national side in recent years.
Illiasu is one of four locally-based players named in the squad and receives his first call-up since last appearing national team in September 1998. Pimpong, a striker from FC Copenhagen in Denmark, has won just one previous cap, in 2002.
Mohamed, who had been on trial at Maccabi Netanya in Israel earlier this year, has been an outstanding performer in Ghana's domestic league in recent years.
There were also recalls after a two-year absence for defender Daniel Quaye, Derek Boateng and goalkeeper Richard Kingston.
As expected, Dujkovic also handed a berth to the PSV Eindhoven defender Eric Addo, whose last full international was at the 1998 African Nations Cup finals.
The side is to be captained by Stephen Appiah, whose midfield combination with Chelsea's Michael Essien had been pivotal in the team's qualification.
Dujkovic made a major overhaul from Nations Cup, where the Black Stars failed to make it past the first round.
Of his 23-man squad for the tournament in Egypt, fewer than half are heading to Germany where Ghana face the Czech Republic, Italy and the United States in their group.
Essien, Asamoah Gyan and Suklley Ali Muntari return after they missed the Nations Cup through injury.
The notable absentee is the Bundesliga-based striker Isaac Boakye, whose injury woes have again cost him a chance to compete at a major tournament.
Dujkovic had tested a number of fringe players in recent friendlies against German and French clubs but few emerged to make the squad.
Goalkeepers: Sammy Adjei (Moadan Sport Ashdod, Israel), Richard Kingston (Ankaraspor, Turkey), George Owu (AsantiGold).
Defenders: Eric Addo (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Issah Ahmed (Randers, Denmark), Sheila Illiasu (Asante Kotoko), Samuel Osei Kuffour (AS Roma, Italy), John Mensah (Stade Rennes, France), Habib Mohammed (King Faisal Babes, Ghana), John Painstil (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Emmanuel Pappoe (Hapoel Kfar Saba, Israel), Daniel Quaye (Hearts of Oak), Hans Sarpei (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany)
Midfielders: Otto Addo (FSV Mainz, Germany), Stephen Appiah (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Derek Boateng (AIK Stockholm, Sweden), Haminu Dramani (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro), Michael Essien (Chelsea, England), Sulley Ali Muntari (Udinese, Italy)
Strikers: Matthew Amoah (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Asamoah Gyan (Modena, Italy), Razak Pimpong (FC Copenhagen, Denmark), Alex Tachie-Mensah (St. Gallen, Switzerland)