Former Communications Director of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Ibrahim Saanie Daara, has revealed that some players who switched their nationalities to play for Ghana were once rejected stones.
According to him, the players including Eddie Nketiah and Tariq Lamptey yearned to play for the country, but for some reason, the GFA did not grant their desires at the time.
“…Players like Eddie Nketiah came to the Ghana U-17 and was told that he was not cut for it several years ago. Tariq [Lamptey] several years ago had been sending me messages that he wanted to play for the junior national teams of Ghana before England invited him,” Mr Saanie Daara told JoySports.
The former GFA executive was responding to some football critics who described the newcomers as opportunists who want to play for Ghana because the team qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Though “it could be 90% true” that a lot of the players came because of the qualification, Mr Saanie Daara said they are nonetheless players who “have affection for the country” adding that “some of them even before this issue of the national team came, come to Ghana for holidays”.
He however expressed regrets on the part of the GFA for their non-involvement in the players’ development from the early stages of their career, saying “Maybe we didn’t have the opportunity to court them when they were young [and] that opened them to more opportunities.
The Ghana Football Association earlier in July announced the conversion of nationality of six players, including, Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion), Stephen Ambrosius (Hamburger SV), Ransford-Yeboah Koningsdorffer (Hamburger SV), Patric Pfeiffer (SV Damstadt 98) and Mohammed Salisu.
The move by the players was deemed positive because their addition will strengthen the Ghanaian squad who are playing in the 2022 FIFA World to be staged in Qatar from November to December.
“We have always maintained that we will not limit ourselves to only a small group of players but would scout top talents across the globe who are ready to sacrifice for the nation and to take us to the next level.
“This gives the Technical team more options to choose from, adding to our continuous desire to improve the team,” the President of the GFA Edwin Simeon-Okraku is quoted to have said.