Ghana will follow the lead of Nigeria and Ivory Coast and actively pursue players in Europe with Ghanaian roots to play for the Black Stars.
New Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah told KweséESPN he has already earmarked about eight names that the Ghana Football Association will work on in order to expand the talent pool available to the team for future assignments.
Appiah says one of his key priorities after agreeing a two-year deal is to build a new team with depth and options. And part of that strategy is to draw from the Ghanaian community abroad.
Appiah refused to expand on names, but KweséESPN understands top of that list is Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who is also eligible to play for The Netherlands, Inaki Williams of Atletico Bilbao, who was born in Spain to a Ghanaian father and Liberian mother, as well as 22-year Hamburg SV defensive midfielder Gideon Jung, born in Germany to Ghanaian parents.
“If there are players born outside or who grew up outside and they can add to the quality of the team then you must make the effort.
There are about eight to ten players that I have given to the GFA to make enquiries about how we can get them on our side. If they are good enough we want them to play for Ghana.
That has to be my priority as the Ghana coach,” Appiah said. Ghana Football Association vice-president George Afriyie says the process of convincing players to play for Ghana has been a long standing one.
“The policy of the GFA has always been the same. That if there is a Ghanaian somewhere capable of adding quality to the Black Stars, we are ready to make the necessary approach,” Afriyie said. “We are guided by quality and we as administrators we will facilitate that.
We have met the parents of Inaki Williams in recent times and so we will go out of our way to ensure that if these players are available and willing to play for Ghana, we will go out of our way to convince him to play for the country.”
Those who back the approach say it is a necessary step to stock up the talent level available to the team here as many of the present players struggle for exposure in the big leagues.
And some of the players Appiah is hoping to pursue have big league exposure and age on their side.
Jung for instance is 22 and has already made 33 appearances for Hamburg this season in all competitions including 26 in the Bundesliga.
The Ghana Football Association will face one major hurdle though which will be to convince the players their integration will be smooth given the high profile disputes players of similar backgrounds like Kevin-Prince Boateng and Adam Larsen Kwarasey had had with the body.
As it is, Appiah has previously suggested he would be open to Boateng and Sulley Muntari’s return to the national team, despite a falling out at the 2014 World Cup.