#TotalAFCON2019: Probing Thomas Agyepong’s Black Stars inclusion, questions for Kwasi Appiah

Ghana staged one of the most disastrous AFCON tournaments since the country gained Independence in 1957, and the most embarrassing in the last eleven years of the tournament after failing to make it to the semis in Egypt in the ongoing fiesta.

The embarrassing stage that stomached the West African giant’s 22nd appearance in the tournament has called for a probe by many private pressure groups as well as journalists.

The call has been made necessary considering the call up of the coach for the tournament that has since left many Ghanaians in a state of shock and complete bewilderment.

Many in-form players including Majeed Ashmeru and Bernard Terkpetey were left out of the team with Majeed Waris given the shock of his life in Dubai when he was dropped from the final 23.

Terkpetey who staged one of his most industrious seasons with Bundesliga II side Paderborn 07, guiding them to gain promotion into the Bundesliga was left out of even the provisional squad named by Coach Kwasi Appiah.

For a player who made over 34 appearances in all competitions for his side, scoring 10 goals and assisting 4 times, many thought the law of fairness should have guided Kwasi Appiah to at least include him in his provisional squad.

While people were shocked with Terkpetey’s exclusion, a greater number of Ghanaians could not simply comprehend why Red Bull Salzburg star, Majeed Ashmeru, who was in loan at Swiss Super League side St. Gallen was left out of the team.

Ashmeru was not only young and promising, he commanded a huge stature in the St. Gallen squad and statistics supported him as Ghana’s most assisting player in Europe’s top leagues in the 2018/19 season.

With Waris, his outing for FC Nantes in the French Ligue I, on loan from Portuguese giants FC Porto, and guiding them from the claws of relegation, it looked obvious that the former Right To Dream Academy starlet was on his way to Egypt, but Kwasi Appiah dropped him for Agyepong.

But what convinced Kwasi Appiah to surpringsly include Thomas Agyepong in his squad for the AFCON?

Agyepong had been rocked by injuries throughout the season and could not even make three outings for his side – Hibernian – in the Scottish League was surprisingly named in the provisional squad and subsequently handed a seat to Egypt after the team’s stay in Dubai.

The output of the player in Ghana’s first game with Benin was a clear definition of his injury status and his inability to play for his club throughout the season.

Agyepong was pulled out of Ghana’s opening game against Benin just under 30 minutes, ruled out of the second game against Cameroon and never made it into the team again until Ghana was finally kicked out by Tunisia.

Wouldn’t it only be fair for Kwasi Appiah to explain to Ghanaians the footballing reasons that led to the selection of Agyepong in his squad?

How could a coach select a player who had not lasted for just 90 minutes on the field for his club in a season over players who had amazing outings for their clubs in the season?

Wouldn’t it have been prudent for Ghana to have gone to Egypt with Asante Kotoko’s Abdul Fatawu Safiu instead of Thomas Agyepong?

Fatawu, a player who has indelibly been identified as a master of set pieces would have been overly useful for Ghana in the tournament than an Agyepong who hardly saw just a complete game for his side.

Wasn’t it clear in the game against Tunisia that Ghana needed a free kick expert to have gotten the team to the quarter finals after winning several free kicks but all ending fruitlessly?

Isn’t it only fair to demand for an explanation from Coach Kwasi Appiah as to why Agyepong was chosen despite the stats showing he was the most inactive player in the team ahead of the tournament?

What really convinced Kwasi Appiah to choose Agyepong over Waris, Ashmeru, Terkpetey and Safiu?

More questions obviously popping up as Ghana’s poor show in Egypt keeps haunting Ghanaians.

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