Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has defended his decision to call up some of the nation’s biggest names for this weekend’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia.
Asamoah Gyan has retained his place in the squad despite being without a league goal – or a start – for Kayserispor this season, while the Ayew brothers have also returned to the fold after a year out of the squad, despite their underwhelming form.
Ghana have taken just three points from their opening two AFCON qualifiers, and find themselves four behind group leaders Kenya on seven points, and second-placed Ethiopia, on four, having played two games fewer than their rivals.
“Initially, I didn’t want the country to rely on only a few players,” Appiah told Citizen TV. “I wanted a situation when we can enlarge what we have.
“By doing that you have to allow other players to play so I gave them the chance, but when the going is tough and when you want to finish it off, you come with your best.”
While the Ayew brothers have returned to the place, Kwadwo Asamoah misses out after withdrawing with a knee injury sustained in Internazionale’s 4-1 defeat by Atalanta at the weekend.
“This game is very important for us and as you can see, there are about only four players from the team that played against Kenya the last time,” Appiah added.
It remains to be seen whether Sierra Leone, whose double-header against Ghana from October was postponed, will be allowed to complete their qualifying programme.
The nation is currently suspended from FIFA amidst government interference following corruption allegations aimed at the SLFA.
“We have no idea what CAF has decided,” Appiah concluded. “For now, our attention is on Ethiopia and our priority is that we want to win.
“That is the bottom line for us. We want to go out there and play our best, attack, fully concentrated and win the game.”