Ghana have gone through three coaches in the space of 12 months and are making a concerted effort to add new talent to the team in an effort to reprise old glory and prove competitive at the World Cup.
Otto Addo, with no previous senior coaching experience and combing his role as talent manager at German club Borussia Dortmund, will be leading the Black Stars’ campaign in Qatar where they take on Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay.
He is the third coach in the last year to take charge of the team after Charles Akonnor was fired despite advancing Ghana through the group phase of the African World Cup qualifiers and into the playoffs in March, and Milovan Rajevac, shown the door after a disastrous Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon at the start of the year.
Rajevac had been brought back after his exploits with the team in 2010, when Ghana came within the width of the crossbar of becoming the first African country to reach the World Cup semifinals.
But there proved few similarities in strength between the class of 2010 and the current generation and to strengthen the side there has been a concerted effort to strengthen the squad by persuading players with Ghanaian heritage to join, like former Spain international Inaki Williams and Tariq Lamptey, the England under-21 fullback from Brighton.
Born in Hamburg, Germany to Ghanaian parents, he was part of Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga-winning team in 2002. His career was blighted by serious injury but he did play for Ghana at the 2006 World Cup. He finished his playing days at Hamburg SV and then coached their juniors, while also scouting players in Europe for Ghana. Then at Dortmund he first coached juniors and is now talent manager, combining the role with that of the Ghana job that he was surprisingly offered in February.
He was Ghana’s first choice before he suffered a knee injury in last year’s World Cup qualifier in South Africa, at the stadium where he plays his club football for Orlando Pirates. It kept him out for six months and meant he lost the number one jersey which he has not had a chance to get back.
Abdul Manaf NURUDEEN
A graduate of the Aspire Academy in Senegal and through the Qatar connections moved to Eupen in Belgium in 2017, while competing for Ghana at under-20 level. Last season he broke through into Eupen’s first team and was a back-up goalkeeper at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in January.
Born in Bristol, Wollacott started at local club Bristol City but made his breakthrough in his early 20s only at Swindon Town in League Two, where he had first gone on an emergency seven-day loan but ended up earning himself a one-year permanent deal. His father is from Ghana and he was called up after Ofori got injured.
Ghana persuaded the England under-21 international, who started at Chelsea and is now at Brighton & Hove Albion, to switch allegiance in a major boost to their World Cup hopes. The debut for the London-born fullback came in September in the friendly against Brazil, the team of his long time idol Dani Alves.
Ghana was always a sensitive issue for Belgium-born Odoi because of a non-existent relationship with his Ghanaian father. He played one game for Belgium in 2012 in a friendly against Montenegro but, in March, at the age of 32 he suddenly agreed to play for the Black Stars and helped them to qualify for the World Cup.
Highly rated Southampton centre back refused previous call-ups from Ghana saying he wanted to concentrate on his emerging club career in the Premier League, only relenting in September. A prodigious talent, he made his LaLiga debut at 20 at Real Valladolid and moved to Southampton for 11-milion pounds two years ago.
Left back who was relegated with Girondins Bordeaux last season but has stayed up in Ligue 1 with promoted AJ Auxerre. He was brought to Europe by Red Bull and helped Salzburg win the Uefa Youth League in 2017. He played in both legs of the World Cup playoff victory over Nigeria in March.
Left out of the squad for this year’s Cup of Nations finals but was brought back for the two last warm-up friendlies in September, where he sat on the bench. He competed the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand and at club level has played in Sweden and Belgium and now with Celta Vigo in LaLiga.
Flying full back who likes to get up and down the flanks and who might have had a much more successful club career at Chelsea had he not suffered numerous injuries. Chelsea paid 14-milion pounds to buy him but he has never been able to break through and been repeatedly sent out on loan.
Perfect player to have in the squad because he has played at centre back, which is his most frequent position, but also at right back or as a defensive midfielder. He is now in his eighth season with Leicester City and completing a seventh year in the Black Stars line-up.
One of the players competing for a centre back role at the World Cup, he is a consistent performer in Ligue 1 although his club Racing Strasbourg have been struggling this season. Born in Montpellier, he was close to a move to the Bundesliga this past summer but it fell through at the last moment.
Travelled a circuitous route to Europe to realise his dream of becoming a professional footballer, via the Ivory Coast to join Clermont Foot, who he helped win promotion to Ligue 1 two seasons ago. He has come into the Ghana squad since the arrival of Otto Addo as coach.
Played one game for Germany at under-21 level but coach Addo has persuaded him to try and make the Ghana squad for the World Cup. Played at Hamburger SV first but this season moved to Karlsruhe in the German second division where he is a towering presence at centre back.
Explosive midfield presence who is the muscle of the team but has struggled with consistency as a myriad of niggles and knocks have taken their toll. One of the most expensive African footballers, who moved to Arsenal from Atletico Madrid in a 45-million pound move, he will be the heart of the Ghana side in Qatar.
His defensive work-rate and prolific ball-winning ability has caught the eye this season in the Europa League with Belgian club KAA Gent. He was born in Paris but grew up at Olympique Lyonnaise where he was captain when they won the under-17 French championship in 2016 but later suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury.
Highly rated attacking midfielder was born in Accra but brought up in Germany, where he played for VfL Wolfsburg as a junior, at St Pauli in the second division and now Freiburg in the top flgith, who he joined in the off-season. Kyereh likes nothing more than racing forward with the ball glued to his feet, using close control and skill to carve open gaps.
First player to get to over 100 caps for Ghana, Ayew has a charming left foot and tumbling running style that reminds strongly of his father Abedi Pele, who was a three-time African Footballer of the Year. Andre plays well in the ‘false 9’ role or in the left attacking channel.
Strong midfield player who this season has also been used as a centre forward by his Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam, notably in their Uefa Champions League campaign. He is a product of the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana, who also own the Danish club FC Nordsjaelland, which they use as a vehicle to take players across to Europe.
Midfield enforcer who plays in front of the back four, he has been on the books of LaLiga club Mallorca for the past six years. He was born in Accra but grew up in Spain, where he was a youth team player at Leganes first.
Issahaku Abdul FATAWU
Right winger with pace and a cannonball shot who, at the age of 18, is tipped as one of African football’s next top talents. Chosen as the best player at last year’s African Youth Championship and called up to the senior side almost straight away and has also recently made a debut for Sporting Lisbon.
The English-based striker is famous for frustrating fans with his constant dribbling, often too selfish with the ball. Second son of the ex-Ghana captain Abedi Pele, he was born in France and began his career at Olympique Marseille before his move to England at Aston Villa, Swansea City and now Crystal Palace.
Explosive winger, capable of playing on either flank of the attack, who has made a good start to his career at new club Red Star Belgrade. The former European Cup winners are his fourth side in four different European countries after Trencin (Slovakia), KAA Gent (Belgium) and last season with Nantes, who he helped win the French Cup.
Has strength and speed and is also capable of playing on the right, but his best position is at centre forward, where he plays for Serie A newcomers Cremonese after moving from Roma in August. Roma spotted him playing at Presbyterian Senior High School in Berekum, where he was also a track star.
Basque-born striker who played for Spain but has since switched allegiance and debuted for Ghana in September. His younger brother Nico will be at the World Cup with Spain. Inaki plays as a classic centre forward and has been on fire for Athletic Bilbao this season.
Another player for whom a bright future at the highest level is predicted. Plays wide on the left and likes to terrorised defenders in one-on-one situations. French club Stade Rennes paid 20-million for his services but the likes of Ajax Amsterdam, Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been watching him.
Described as ‘a nightmare to play against’, the striker is English-born and plays at boyhood club Bristol City, and was linked with a move to Premier League clubs before the start of the season. He has electric pace, agility and tricky feet, and is a difficult player to mark due to his clever movement off the ball.
He will be hoping to become the only home-based player in the Ghana squad, who was Footballer of the Year in Ghana in 2021 as he helped Hearts of Oak to take the championship. Typical hard-running striker with a fearsome shot he faces a lot of competition for a place in the World Cup squad.
Right-footed forward best suited to playing as a centre forward. Moved from Ghana to Standard Liege in 2015. Since he has played in the Czech Republic and Turkey and won a call-up to the national team last October during the World Cup qualifiers.
Recently bought by German second-division side Hamburg, he has switched from Germany’s under-21 side to the Black Stars and debuted in September in the friendly win over Nicaragua. He is a right-sided wide player described as a top talent for the future.
Adept both in midfield and attack, he has just signed a new three-year deal for Racing Genk. His Belgian club have used him more in a striking role this season and he has averaged a goal every second game. He was a teenager when he made his debut with Tema Youth in Ghana’s Premier League.