Kumasi Asante Kotoko goalkeeper, Felix Annan, says he will work hard to convince coack Kwasi Appiah that he deserves a place in starting line up of the national team after he was included in a 23-man squad invited for the 2019 AFCON qualifier against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.
Annan, 23, is the only home-based player named among a 23-man squad to face the Leone Stars in a doubleheader on October 11 and October 15 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi and Freetown respectively.
It is his second invitation by Coach Appiah after his first call-up in June 2017 for an AFCON qualifier against Ethiopia in Kumasi.
“I am extremely happy to be back in the national team. For me, it is something special because it is every player’s dream to feature for his country and I believe hard work, passion, dedication, patience and God’s grace made it possible,” he told the Daily Graphic yesterday in reaction to his call-up.
“The last time I was invited to the squad, I didn’t get an opportunity to play but this time round I’m going to work hard and I hope I will be given the chance to prove myself,” he added.
Also back in the team are skipper Asamoah Gyan and midfielder Mubarak Wakaso as Appiah made seven changes to his last squad that lost 0-1 to Kenya in Nairobi last month.
Conspicuously missing are the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan, who have been overlooked by Appiah for the past 13 months, despite playing well for their clubs.
Gyan is making a return to the national team for the first time in over a year. He last featured for the Black Stars on September 1, 2017 when Ghana drew 0-0 with Congo in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Kumasi, while combative midfielder Wakaso is back in the team since last featuring in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Egypt in Kumasi on November 12, 2017.
Spain-based Wakaso is believed to have been sidelined by Appiah for refusing to join the team for a friendly matches with with Japan and Iceland ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Following criticisms after Ghana’s 0-1 loss to Kenya, Appiah has recalled two of his most experienced players while keeping faith with some of the players who featured against the Harambee Stars in Nairobi.
Also returning are centre-back Jonathan Mensah, Red Star Belgrade forward Richmond Boakey-Yiadom, Levante forward Emmanuel Boateng and midfielder Bernard Mensah of Turkish side, Kayserispor.
Below is the full list
Goalkeepers: Richard Ofori (Maritzburg, South Africa), Lawrence Ati (Socheaux, France) and Felix Annan (Asante Kotoko, Ghana)
Defenders: Andy Yiadom (Reading, England), John Boye (FC Metz, France), Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew, USA), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Nicholas Opoku (Udinese, Italy) and Lumor Agbenyenu (Sporting CP, Portugal).
Midfielders: Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Mubarak Wakaso (Alaves, Spain), Afriyie Acquah (Empoli, Italy), Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, England), Bernard Mensah (Kayserispor, Turkey), Thomas Agyapong (Hibernian, Scotland), Nana Ampomah (Waasland, Belgium), Isaac Sackey (Alanyaspor, Turkey) and Kwadwo Asamoah (Inter Milan, Italy).
Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Kayserispor, Turkey), Richmond Boakye-Yiadom (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Majeed Waris (Nantes, France) and Emmanuel Boateng (Levante, Spain).