Ghana Coach Reveals Several Surprises With Announcement of World Cup Roster
ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic revealed several surprises when he named his final 23-man squad for the World Cup finals on Friday the first of the five African representatives to do so.
The Serbian-born coach has made wholesale changes from the squad which performed so badly in the African Nations Cup in January including a call-up for uncapped defender Habib Mohamed and recalls for Shilla Alhassan Illiasu and Razak Pimpong who had played no part in Ghana's national side in recent years.
Illiasu is one of four locally-based players named in the squad and receives his first call-up since last appearing national team in September 1998. Pimpong a striker from FC Copenhagen in Denmark has won just one previous cap in 2002.
Mohamed who had been on trial at Maccabi Netanya in Israel earlier this year has been an outstanding performer in Ghana's domestic league in recent years.
There were also recalls after a two-year absence for defender Daniel Quaye Derek Boateng and goalkeeper Richard Kingston.
As expected Dujkovic also handed a berth to the PSV Eindhoven defender Eric Addo whose last full international was at the 1998 African Nations Cup finals.
The side is to be captained by Stephen Appiah whose midfield combination with Chelsea's Michael Essien had been pivotal in the team's qualification.
Dujkovic made a major overhaul from Nations Cup where the Black Stars failed to make it past the first round.
Of his 23-man squad for the tournament in Egypt fewer than half are heading to Germany where Ghana face the Czech Republic Italy and the United States in their group.
Essien Asamoah Gyan and Suklley Ali Muntari return after they missed the Nations Cup through injury.
The notable absentee is the Bundesliga-based striker Isaac Boakye whose injury woes have again cost him a chance to compete at a major tournament.
Dujkovic had tested a number of fringe players in recent friendlies against German and French clubs but few emerged to make the squad.
Goalkeepers: Sammy Adjei (Moadan Sport Ashdod Israel) Richard Kingston (Ankaraspor Turkey) George Owu (AsantiGold).
Defenders: Eric Addo (PSV Eindhoven Netherlands) Issah Ahmed (Randers Denmark) Sheila Illiasu (Asante Kotoko) Samuel Osei Kuffour (AS Roma Italy) John Mensah (Stade Rennes France) Habib Mohammed (King Faisal Babes Ghana) John Painstil (Hapoel Tel Aviv Israel) Emmanuel Pappoe (Hapoel Kfar Saba Israel) Daniel Quaye (Hearts of Oak) Hans Sarpei (VfL Wolfsburg Germany)
Midfielders: Otto Addo (FSV Mainz Germany) Stephen Appiah (Fenerbahce Turkey) Derek Boateng (AIK Stockholm Sweden) Haminu Dramani (Red Star Belgrade Serbia and Montenegro) Michael Essien (Chelsea England) Sulley Ali Muntari (Udinese Italy)
Strikers: Matthew Amoah (Borussia Dortmund Germany) Asamoah Gyan (Modena Italy) Razak Pimpong (FC Copenhagen Denmark) Alex Tachie-Mensah (St. Gallen Switzerland)