Several prominent Ghanaian players currently feature in Spain’s LaLiga, but which of them could feature in the new dawn for our national team?
Ghana will face Angola twice at the end of March, and following the appointment of Chris Hughton as the new Black Stars head coach, his team is already being tipped as favourites to win both encounters.
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Heading into his first game in charge, Hughton will undoubtedly be of a similar mindset, carefully evaluating the form and availability of players, before finally deciding where his faith is best placed.
LaLiga has often been a productive pathway to success for Ghanaian talents, which means that Hughton will certainly be casting his analytical gaze upon those who already play there. Right now, there are four possible options he may be considering.
Iñaki Williams – Athletic Bilbao
Back in 2016 when Iñaki Williams debuted for the Spanish national team, born and raised in Bilbao, he felt it was the right choice given his upbringing in the country. This initially led to him rejecting opportunities to represent Ghana, feeling is wasn’t right at the time.
However, during an interview with The Guardian in 2021, Williams reflected on the arduous journey of his parents to reach Spain, how they left Ghana and crossed the desert barefoot. This may have also led to his change of perspective.
Inaki Williams 🇬🇭 holds the record for the Most Consecutive La Liga Games with 251 appearances from 2016-2023.
In 2015, he became the first Black player to score for Athletic Bilbao.
He signed a 9-year deal with the club in 2019. This includes a £119 million release clause. pic.twitter.com/fLXyNv8P8k
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) March 3, 2023
Williams made himself available for selection in July 2022, and has gone on to make 6 appearances for the Black Stars, including four as part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup squad. Meanwhile, his younger brother Nico was named in the Spanish squad.
Iñaki remains a key player for Athletic Bilbao, having made 21 appearances in all competitions during the 2022-23 campaign, contributing 5 goals and 2 assists. Form and fitness have been positive, while Hughton will also value the tactical and positional flexibility Williams can offer.
Joseph Aidoo – Celta Vigo
Often overlooked by previous Black Stars head coaches, Joseph Aidoo debuted for the national team back in 2019, making four appearances that year. This was followed by 3 more games in 2020, since when his opportunities appear to have evaporated.
Aidoo was part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup squad, but spent the entirety of Ghana’s participation at the tournament watching on from the bench, without getting a single minute on the pitch.
Joseph Aidoo has had two shots on target in La Liga this season; both have been headers and both have been goals.
Celta’s secret weapon pic.twitter.com/CcayebiLbj
— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) February 4, 2023
While there are certainly plenty of centre-back options available for Hughton, but as a former defender himself, he will undoubtedly be taking a closer look at what Aidoo can offer the Ghana team.
The consistency of Aidoo with Celta Vigo is impressive. Last season he made 32 appearances and this term, the 27-year-old has started every game for his team. Substituted just once in 23 matches, this certainly speaks volumed about the confidence of his club manager.
Iddrisu Baba – RCD Mallorca
Hailing originally from Accra, the family of Iddrisu Baba moved to Spain when he was a youngster. His first opportunity in youth football came at Leganés, before switching to RCD Mallorca in early 2014.
After becoming a regular for the Mallorca B team, then spending a season on loan at third tier side Barakaldo, opportunity finally knocked for Baba in 2018. He was promoted to the first team squad at Mallorca, becoming a key player as they won promotion back to LaLiga.
JUST IN: Real Mallorca midfielder Baba Iddrisu will miss the World Cup with injury, as per @Ghanasoccernet.
Another big blow pic.twitter.com/LiOkBDMeEn
— Saddick Adams (@SaddickAdams) November 13, 2022
Baba played 36 of 28 games in LaLiga during the 2019-20 campaign with Mallorca, then 24 following their descent back to the Segunda in 2020-21, as the team won promotion back to Spain’s elite. Iddrisu has made 17 appearances this term in LaLiga.
Renowned for his physical strength and tough tackling, Babu was overlooked due to an injury ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Nevertheless, the 27-year-old midfielder could be an important addition for Hughton, should he choose to hand the player his first Ghana cap since 2021.
Donor Site: ghanasoccernet.com