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LIST: Akonnor names Djiku among new faces in Black Stars squad for Mali friendly

CK Akonnor has named a 23-man squad for the upcoming October friendly between Ghana and Mali.

The squad, which will play the new Black Stars head coach’s first game since his appointment late January 2020, has six players handed maiden call-ups to the senior team

Versatile French-born FC Strasbourg defender Alexander Djiku, who recently accepted to pledge his international allegiance to Ghana after talks with Akonnor, has been selected, likewise, 20-year-old MSK Zilina right-back Benson Anang.

Former Aduana Stars centre-back Yakubu Mohammed, also known for his versatility, Amiens SC new boy Emmanuel Lomotey and young attacker Kamal Deen Sulemana of FC Nordsjaelland get first-time call-ups while Israel-based Eugene Ansah, who made the squad for the botched March Afcon qualifiers due to the COVID-10 pandemic, has been added an opportunity to prove himself for a first senior cap.

Striker John Antwi, who recently became the first foreign player to hit over 100 goals playing for Egyptian clubs, is recalled for the first time since October 2017 when he came very close to his senior debut but was an unused substitute in Ghana’s 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying barren stalemate with Uganda in Kumasi.

Attacking midfielder Bernard Mensah is also recalled having missed all Ghana squads since an October 2015 international friendly with Canada.

The usual suspects – captain Andre Ayew, deputies Thomas Partey and Richard Ofori, Jordan Ayew and new sensation Kudus Mohammed are all named.

Ghana have been out of action his the back-to-back victories over South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last November.

New coach Akonnor had announced his maiden squad but the COVID-19 outbreak forced the next set of qualifiers in March, a doubleheader against Sudan to be cancelled.

With that schedule set to come off later in November, the Ghana FA has managed to secure a friendly match for the coach to prepare his team with.

The Black Stars are certain to engage Mali in Antalya, Turkey on Friday, October 9, 2020.

Squad in full:

Richard Ofori (Maritzburg United), Lawrence Ati-Zigi (FC St Gallen), Razak Abalora (Unattached).

Benson Anang (MSK Zilina), Lumor Agbenyenu (Sporting Club Lisbon), Yakubu Mohammed (Azam FC), Gideon Mensah (Vitoria Guimaraes), Alexander Djiku (RC Strasbourg), Joseph Aidoo (Celta Vigo), Nicholas Opoku (Amiens SC), Kasim Adams (TSG Hoffenheim), Jeffery Schlupp (Crystal Palace)

Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid), Emmanuel Lomotey (Amiens SC), Bernard Mensah (Besiktas), Baba Idrissu (RCD Mallorca)

Andre Ayew (Swansea FC), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace), John Antwi (Pyramids FC), Eugene Ansah (Kiryat Shmona), Kamal Deen Sulemana (FC Nordsjaelland), Mohammed Kudus (AFC Ajax)




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