Ghana’s chase for youngster Jeremey Doku is finally over after the Anderlecht winger was handed his maiden senior call up by the country of his birth Belgium for their Euro League game against Iceland next month.
— Jeremy Doku (@JeremyDoku) August 25, 2020
The 18-year old deadly winger has been heavily courted by Black Stars coach CK Akonnor but has now opted to represent Belgium at the senior national level.
The Belgium born Ghanaian had a magnificent breakthrough season with the Jupiler Pro League giants Anderlecht last season and was chased by English Champions Liverpool.
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) August 25, 2020
Doku, who is eligible to represent Ghana, the country of his parents, netted four goals and made three-assist before the league was cancelled.
As part of his ambitions to augment the Black Stars with Ghana-eligible players in the diaspora, Akonnor held a meeting with Doku and Anderlecht team-mate Francis Amuzu, also of Ghanaian descent, to discuss the possible international futures with Ghana. The coach also spoke to Dutch-born Anderlecht centre-back Derrick Luckassen, as he did with France-born midfielder Elisha Owusu who also plies his trade in Belgium with Gent.
“I have made it clear to him [Akonnor] I need time to make the right decision,” last week, Doku told SPORTSworldGhana about Ghana and Akonnor’s proposition.
Amuzu, meanwhile, has also been named in Belgium’s U21 squad for a Uefa U21 Championship qualifier against Germany next month.
His thunderous attacking qualities have not gone unnoticed with Belgium coach Roberto Martinez extending an invite to him for Euro league game against Iceland
Belgium’s golden generation are aging and to remain competitive at the top stage, Martinez hopes a process of integrating youngsters like Doku is important.
“Jérémy Doku and Dharles De Ketelaere . We want to influence their progress by letting them gain experience,” the Spaniard is quoted as saying.
In March, Akonnor named the Belgium-based quartet and Ajax Amsterdam teenager Brian Brobbey as well as the France-born duo of Alexander Djiku (Strasbourg) and Enock Kwateng (Bordeaux) as seven players currently being engaged for a switch of nationality.
“With regards to European-born players, it’s necessary for me to let you know the names [of the players we are working on],” Akonnor told the press.
“Those I spoke to want to play [for Ghana] but they are also not familiar with our lifestyle here. They don’t know what is going on, some probably just come here [briefly] and go back.
“They don’t know anything about us and I think it is important for us to encourage them to come here and see what is going on here. They are willing to come but they don’t know what it is [like here].”
More recently, Ghana have added England-born duo Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) and Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion) to their list of targets.
Akonnor is expected to name his next Ghana squad in October ahead of a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying double-header against Sudan in November.