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One thing stood out when Ghana’s head coach, Otto Addo, announced the 2022 FIFA World Cup squad on Monday 14th November. There is a worrying goalkeeper crisis as top shot-stoppers, Richard Ofori and Jojo Wollacot have been ruled out of the World Cup due to injuries. The goalkeeper situation has been termed disastrous by ESPN. Even worse is that it could hamper the progress of Black Stars beyond group stages. Ghana will face Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay in Group H.
Despite the worrying goalkeeper situation, the announcement of the 26-man Ghana World Cup squad has been given thumbs up by supporters of the Black Stars. The squad features top stars like Arsenal defender, Thomas Partey, the firing Mohammed Kudus and the legendary Ayew brothers (Andre & Jordan). The big question is will this be a perfect time for Ghana to get at its old foe Uruguay, manoeuvre past the in-form Portugal, and escape from Group H at the expense of South Korea?
It will be interesting to see how Addo will cope with key goalkeeper absentees.
The unfortunate news that goalkeeper Richard Ofori did not make it to the 26–man squad due to injury is undoubtedly a massive blow to the Black Stars. Ghanaians expected that Wollacott and Ofori would be first-choice shot-stoppers in Qatar but everything quickly turned into a goalkeeping nightmare for Addo. Swindon Town goalkeeper, Wollacot, picked an injury in a warm-up to a League One match. Otto Addo will now have to juggle between Lawrence Ati-Zigi, and Abdul Manaf Nurudeen, both of whom have had scanty international appearances.
New faces in defence and midfield
Iddrisu Baba was the unrivalled first-choice defensive midfielder but a late injury saw him omitted from the squad. Baba’s ability to tackle offenders and intercept balls would have been instrumental in allowing Partey and Kudus to be more creative in the opponents’ halves.
Newcomer Salis Abdul Samed received a surprise call–up, and the manager expects the youngster to showcase the talent that has endeared him to Lens fans. Samed has been instrumental in steering his side to second place in Ligue 1 ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Wakaso Mubarak and Jonathan Mensah were also expected to feature alongside the Ayew brothers like they did in 2014. However, more creative and versatile new call-ups have replaced veteran players.
Schulpp unlucky as new entrants slot in
Jeffrey Schulpp has never featured for the Black Stars squad in important games despite clocking 219 appearances in the English Premier League. The 29-year-old midfielder helped Leister City claim the PL 2016 crown. One would argue that the Crystal Palace player has been underused despite being a utility player. Head coach Addo states that Schulpp knows why he didn’t make it to the Qatar World Cup squad.
Although Nketiah and Hudson-Odoi failed to commit early to the Black Stars, the squad has received a massive boost from new entrants like Tariq Lamptey, Inaki Williams and Denis Odoi. The other new faces who bring reprieve to the Black Stars Final World Cup line-up are Owusu, Mohamed Salisu, and Antoine Semenyo