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Afcon 2023Q: Iñaki Williams pulls out of Black Stars squad for Madagascar trip

Iñaki Williams will not be linking up with the Black Stars for their penultimate game away to Madagascar in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying on June 18.

The striker, who played in Athletic Bilbao’s season-ending 1-1 draw against Real Madrid on Sunday, claims his absence is due to a lingering knee injury.

According to Iñaki, he has been playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks and has been advised to have the issue treated now in order to be ready for pre-season.

“Since a few weeks, I’ve been playing with pain in my right knee. I decided to play until the end of the season, but after having spoken to the medical services, we’ve decided to stop and solve the problem to be 100% for the preseason,” the 28-year-old wrote in a post on Twitter.

“This wasn’t an easy decision to make because I won’t be able to be with my national team, Ghana the next meeting. I want to say that I am fully committed and I will come back with the Black Stars if the coach deems it appropriate next calls.

“Thank you for your support,” the tweet ended.

Iñaki – who was involved in Ghana’s doubleheader against Angola back in March – made his international debut in a friendly against Brazil in September 2022. He has six caps so far and without a goal.


The Spain-born is not known for injuries in his career.

But in January, he tragically picked up a muscle strain during Athletic Bilbao’s game against Valencia in the Copa del Rey quarterfinal.

That injury kept him out of their subsequent game against Celta Vigo – the first time in nearly seven years that he got sidelined from a LaLiga game due to injury.

Iñaki had been on a staggering record run of 251 consecutive league appearances.

The marathon ever-present spell began for Iñaki on April 20, 2016, when he appeared as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat against Atletico Madrid. It ended on January 29, 2023 (after 2,468 days).

Iñaki Williams contributed 10 goals and three assists in 36 games as Athletic Bilbao placed 8th in the just-ended 2022/23 Spanish LaLiga season.


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