FEATURE: Three rising Ghanaian stars Avram Grant must call up

Published on: 20 December 2014
FEATURE: Three rising Ghanaian stars Avram Grant must call up
Frank Acheampong

It’s the job you have coveted, prayed for, been interviewed for. Then on that bright morning or dry afternoon, amid the clutter, the call comes through. You have the job! That feeling! Relief laced with delight.

I know it, and you do too. We also know that kind of excitement is pregnant with anxiety; a wee bit, no matter how big or small the role, apprehension lurks in the very deep recesses of your thoughts. However, we also know that, when you eventually suit up to start, you enjoy some amount of liberties.

At this stage, you are given room to trip and tumble. It’s also the stage you should garner all the resources from your bosses while they are still smiling with you. Avram Grant, new coach of Ghana’s Black Stars is at this honeymoon stage.

In as much as Grant seems to have bedded in comfortably, he needs to make some big calls, sort of lay down the marker. Soon he will call up a preliminary squad for the forthcoming 2015 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Equatorial Guinea.

While drawing that list, he will receive plenty of unsolicited tips. Just like the many well-wishers out there, I couldn’t resist recommending three players for him to consider.

Frank Acheampong

If the name Messi is ever attached to a player’s name, then you know that player must be special. Frank Acheampong earned that alias whilst playing for Ghanaian side, King Faisal Babies for his unique technique and ability to juggle the round leather.

That however seems ages ago. Frank moved to Thailand and subsequently to Belgian top side Anderlecht. Primarily a winger, Frank has developed his all round game. Though a bit of surprise to see him at left back for Anderlecht in this season’s UEFA Champions League, Frank proved his versatility with commendable performances.

He has so far made a total of 24 appearances in both the UEFA Champions League and Belgian Jupiler Pro League, scoring 2 goals and making 4 assists.  Adaptability aside, Frank’s strengths are his pace, trickery and industry.

Those attributes are a manager’s delight when looking for a conventional winger or improvised wing back. Grant should watch tapes of the 2013 World Youth Championship in Turkey where Frank was key; scoring and assisting goals as the Satellites grabbed bronze.

Granted that the Black Stars team is stacked with loads of wingers, but Frank is admittedly, in better shape than some of these wingers and his invitation will be reward for good form and confirm Avram’s assertion that form is top criterion for call ups.

Bernard Mensah

Bernard Mensah
Bernard Mensah
“Cagliari and Atalanta chase Mensah”, “AS Monaco monitoring Ghanaian starlet”. The headlines have been screaming all year. Close watchers of the game have raved about him. Question is, why not?  How a lot can change in a year.

12 months ago, Mensah was with the reserves of Portuguese side, Vitória Guimarães SC. After a solid 26 appearances for the reserves last season, he gained promotion to the senior side this season, where he has made 12 appearances and caught the attention of European clubs and scouts.

Majestic is how his performances can be described, he moves with such grace, holding possession before releasing team mates in scoring positions. He also has a unique eye for goal too.  It is no wonder he has scored 4 goals and made three assists from his attacking midfield position.

For a Black Stars team in desperate need of a genuine playmaker, Mensah fits that role, after all, he has been doing it all season. Ask Vitoria fans why their season has been stellar and why they are in second position and they will mention two words: Bernard Mensah. Mr. Grant, watch and learn.

Daniel Amartey
Daniel Amartey
Daniel Amartey

Grant clearly, would be concerned about the Black Stars leaky defense. It has been shipping goals for fun, so much so that the team hasn’t kept a clean sheet in 17 months. Crucial to the stability and efficiency of any defensive unit is the center back pairing.

Jonathan Mensah and John Boye, the regular center backs have not inspired confidence in the last 12 months and that could be down to some level of complacency due to lack of competition. Just like how Jonathan got the opportunity at a young age, Grant needs to infuse a player who has been having commanding performances at center back in Europe.

Enter, 20 year old Daniel Amartey of Danish side, F.C. Copenhagen. Amartey started out in Ghana with Inter Allies before transferring to swede side, Djurgardens IF, where he featured mainly at center back.

His current team, F.C. Copenhagen, have deployed him mainly in defensive midfield where he has made a combined 25 appearances and scored 3 goals this season.  At 6ft, Amartey’s physical presence and ball playing ability from the back should provide both cover and initiative should Grant offer him the opportunity.

Should Grant heed my advice and make these call ups, It would be my turn to experience that feeling when I see the players dressed in the Ghana shirt. Nothing beats that feeling. Mr. Avram Grant, it’s your call.

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Comments

  • Papa Nkrumah
    says: 5 years ago
    I wasn't sure I should read the article suggesting to the coach what he should do but I'm glad I did. Beautiful write up. Logical argument founded on solid premises. My only problem was that Nii did not suggest possible contenders in Europe or USA, Asia for goalkeeping
  • shine
    says: 5 years ago
    I do not think this is right for a coach to just call up players into the national team. With duely your respect this article is useles one and the person who wrote it is a fan of those players. Looking at their performances they are too low enough to play for a national team.Frank Acheampong maybe a right material but failed to impress himself. A coach cant call a player just because the player score 4 goals in one season,it does not make any sense. Frank Acheampong did well in Un20 level since then he was in and out form.Players like partrick Nyarko who plies his football in USA is even better than Asamoah Gyan when it comes to goals scoring abilities,but he never give a chance. Coaches do not call players just because they performed one season no way,they must be more years hard work in their club levels. Everyone will start to talk about the player then the coach would knew that,that players has to wear national team jessey.
  • skilful
    says: 5 years ago
    As soon as I saw de headline 4 dis article I mentioned 2 names nd low nd behold I had dem right. If u were monitoring football nd ghanaian players in Europe der is no way u can escape did names. We need this young guys in de team now dat de FA admits we are rebuilding. Bernard mensah is a perfect fit 4 Kojo asamoah in de midfield. De other addition for me will b Elvis Manu if only his nationality sw7tch had been successful
  • van
    says: 5 years ago
    very powerful article mr writer...personaly these guys together with the likes of gideon baah(helsinki-finland),enoch kofi edu(malmo ff-sweden), thomas partey(almeria-spain) and john antwi(ismaily- egypt) would boost the black stars currently
  • Julius
    says: 5 years ago
    Exactly My thoughts. Have been thinking of at least frank acheampong n Bernard mensah for the last 3months n the quality they will add to the national team. Good article
  • Tommy
    says: 5 years ago
    AG should recall Inkoom also,he's showing good form in the MLS .
  • Amoration
    says: 5 years ago
    shine what kind of english are you speak. stop writting this kind of mess here.
  • shine
    says: 5 years ago
    Amoration read your first paragraph and tell me you are not an english man. Coaches picks their own good players and not by the fans choice. Whoever wrote this article should please coach his father farmland. We need strong legs and not fish ones in the national team.Ghanaian Journalist are full of shit.Please if you know how to select players why didnt you build your own teams? These small boys will never get a call up to the black stars until they matured enough.But this time around they have a brain dead!
  • Amoration
    says: 5 years ago
    Shine the way you speak show that you are a handicaped person.