Black Stars Squad: The stories of the 5 debutants and the ‘returnee’

New Black Stars Coach Charles Akonnor announced his first squad since getting the appointment to lead Ghana’s senior national football team. The squad are to cover an assignment of facing Sudan in a double header as part of the AFCON 2021 qualifiers.

The usual key names like Andre Ayew, his brother Jordan, Thomas Parteyand Wakaso Mubarak have all been invited.

However, the story of 5 debutantes and a returnee is what this article focuses on.

Aduana Stars’ Yahaya Mohammed returns to the senior national team after 12 years while the likes of Kwadwo Amoako, Richard Attah, Habib Mohammed, Eugene Ansah and Tari Fosu have been called-up for the first time.

Read below the stories of the these selected players.

1 Yahaya Mohammed

FULL NAME: Mohammed Yahaya Sabato

DOB: February 17, 1988 (age 32 years)

POS: ATTACKER/STRIKER

CURRENT CLUB: ADUANA STARS

Tuesday, 7 August 2007, OGC Nice defender cum midfielder Yahaya Mohammed invited to join the Black Stars squad for a friendly encounter with Senegal by Coach Claude Le Roy.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020, Aduana Stars forward and top scoring Ghanaian player in the Ghana premier league, Yahaya Mohammed invited to join the Black Stars squad for the AFCON Qualifying double header with Sudan by Coach CK Akornnor.

That’s 12 years, 6 months, 25 days or 150 months, 25 days since the defender now turned prolific striker Yahaya Mohammed Sabato earned a call up into the senior national team.

The 32 year old has had to do this the hard way as he has successfully cruised his way through the stormy seas in what seemed mission impossible.

After impressing for Ghana’s Youth side at a Toulon tournament in France in 2007, Yahaya Mohammed earned a trial opportunity at French club OGC Nice. He came out tops during the exercise and signed a 3 year deal with the French club.

However reality did not match up to expectations and after a difficult time adapting, the player was back in Ghana.

Subsequent moves across some local clubs followed and this period also saw him switch from a defensive midfielder to a striker.

It was in this role that he will start carving a reputation as one of the deadliest strikers to ever grace the local league.

Stints with Tema Youth, Asante Kotoko, Amidaus Professionals has seen him notch close to 60 goals in the league.

The two time league winner has had stints with the local black stars and was a member of the team that won silver at the CHAN tournament in 2011.

His exploits this season has made it difficult for Coach CK Akornnor to leave him out of this squad.

Yahaya Mohammed has 10 league goals, 1 behind league’s leading scorer Victorien Adebayor.

He’s singlehandedly won 30% of his side’s point tally so far this season.

To Yahaya and his staunch followers, a call up is the best reward for his consistency at the local level.

 

2 Richard Attah

FULL NAME: Richard Attah

DOB: Apr 9, 1995 (age 24 years)

POS: GOALKEEPER

CURRENT CLUB: HEARTS OF OAK

It’s become the trend that goalkeepers who ply their trade in the local league get invites into the senior national football team in recent times.

Felix Annan, the Asante Kotoko Goalkeeper is a huge beneficiary of the arrangement.

The latest to benefit from this ‘grace’ is Hearts of Oak shot stopper Richard Attah.

Fair to say that the 24 year old deserves this chance after his impressive displays for the Phobians in what has been a roller coaster campaign for them so far.

If there is any list which captures impactful goalkeepers in the Ghana Premier League currently that excludes Richard Attah, then surely it lacks credibility.

The Hearts of Oak goalkeeper typifies a player who makes an instant impact!!!

Attah joined ‘The Phobians’ as a free agent following the expiration of his contract with Elmina Sharks

Before he manned the post for the first time, Hearts of Oak had shipped in 4 goals in 2 games. In the 10 matches he’s been between the sticks, they have conceded 7 goals.

After making his league bow on Match Week 3 against Dwarfs, he’s gone on to make 9 more starts; keeping 5 clean sheets in the process.

 

3 Habib Mohammed:

FULL NAME: Habib Mohammed

DOB: June 4, 1997 (age 22 years)

POSITION: DEFENDER

CURRENT CLUB: ASANTE KOTOKO

An assertive young central defender who is confident in his ball playing qualities and also comfortable with the ball at his feet.

That’s what 22 year old Asante Kotoko defender brings to the table. The former AshGold SC player has had a meteoric rise in the last 2 years.

He made his national team bow for the Black Stars B team in November 2018 when Ghana lost via shootout to Namibia.

He’s gone on to make appearances for the Black Meteors (National U-23 side) and was an integral member of the squad that narrowly missed out on qualification to the Men’s Football event at the 2020 Olympic Games.

 

4 Kwadwo Amoako

FULL NAME: Kwadwo Amoako

DOB: Dec 12, 1998 (age 21 years)

POSITION: DEFENDER (right back)

CURRENT CLUB: ASHANTI GOLD SC

Young, enterprising and the most consistent right full back in the Ghana Premier League this season.

AshGold’s Kwadwo Amoakoh has been handed his maiden call up into the senior national team by CK Akornnor.

Amoakoh gained nationwide attention while at Eleven Wonders 2 years ago. A transfer ‘war’ for his signature followed and the Obuasi based side secured the player’s services at the expense of regional rivals Asante Kotoko who were then handled by the current Black Stars Coach.

Amoakoh was part of the Miners squad during a failed Africa campaign.

He’s been very consistent this season, playing 990 minutes of league action for the Miners.

Amoakoh was part of an Ashgold defensive setup that conceded just 2 goals in 11 premier league matches, until WAFA happened on Match Week 12.

His performances this season so far however merits a national team call up.

 

5 Tarique Fosu

FULL NAME: Tariqe Kumahl Malachi Akwesi Fosu/ Tariqe Fosu-Henry

DOB: November 5, 1995 (age 24 years)

POSITION: Left Winger

CURRENT CLUB: Brentford

A left winger or attacking midfielder, Fosu began his career in the Reading academy at the age of 9 in 2004 and progressed to be awarded a scholarship at the end of the 2011–12 season.  He was involved in numerous successes with the Royals’ U18 and U21 teams and signed a professional contract during the 2013–14 season.

Loan spells at Fleetwood Town, Accrington Stanley and Colchester United followed until a permanent move to Charlton Athletic in June 2017. After a successful spell at the Red Robins where he scored 11 times in 65 appearances in all competitions, Tariq Fosu was on the move again to Oxford United signing a 3 year deal. However after the successes chalked in his first season, (He scored 10 goals in his first 33 appearances for the club) he was purchased by English championship side Brentford during the winter transfer window in January 2020.

He has made 3 appearances so far for the Bees.

As an attacking player, Fosu has been described as “great behind the striker and can play off one of the wings if needed”.

 

6 Eugene Ansah – Hapoel Ra’anana

FULL NAME: Eugene Ansah

DOB: 16 December 1994 (age 25)

POSITION: Centre-Forward

CURRENT CLUB: Hapoel Ra’anana

Ansah started his career with Belgian side Lokeren’s youth team and secured promotion to the senior team in 2013. After three years he was loaned to second tier side Lommel United. Upon his return he was transferred to Isareli second tier side Beitar Tel Aviv Bat Yam.

After impressing with a record of 15 goals and 5 assists in 47 appearances Ansah was signed by Israeli top flight side Hapoel Ra’anana.

He’s contributed 5 goals in 27 appearances for his side this season.

Ansah is a versatile forward who can play anywhere upfront apart from being a center forward.

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