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Ghana drop Muntari, Appiah for Nations Cup - Sarpei returns

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac has excluded two key players Sulley Muntari and Stephen Appiah from his final squad for the African Cup of Nations in Angola next month.

Inter Milan player Muntari has been axed from the squad because of his recent disciplinary problems with the national team.

Muntari along with Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan intentionally absented themselves from a recent friendly with Angola.

The trio were fined US$5,000 each and asked to apologise to their coaches and national team colleagues as well as Ghanaians.

Even though high-profile Essien and Gyan apologised and admitted that they will pay the fine, Muntari refused to apologise and rejected the idea of paying the fine.

The Inter Milan is accused of arriving in camp late while his late night trips on camping days forced the disciplinarian Serbian coach to drop him.

Influential captain Appiah was left out of the team to allow him to recover from a hamstring injury and settle with his new team Bologna. 

Another key player left out of the squad is Scotland-based midfield Laryea Kingston who is nursing a calf injury that will keep him out for seven weeks.

But Essien and John Mensah who were injury doubts are expected to recover before the tournament starts in Angola on 10 January. 

The Serbian named six players from the country's U-20 World Cup winning squad even though four of them had previous stints in the team.

U20 World Best Player Dominic Adiyiah, as well as youngsters  Daniel Agyei, Samuel Inkoom, Dede Ayew and his brother Ibrahim and Emmanuel Agyemang Badu were all named in the team.

Bechem Chelsea defender Lee Addy and Hearts of Oak Philemon McCarthy were among the three home-based players in the team.

Germany-based defender Hans Adu Sarpei returns to the squad after a two-absence while Moussa Narry of French side Auxerre was another shock inclusion.

German-born Kevin-Prince Boateng will be unable to secure his international allegiance switch documents from Fifa in time for the tournament so he was left out.

Even though players like Prince Tagoe, Appiah, Kevin Boateng and Muntari were all left out, they could be used at the Black Stars trump card at the 2010 World Cup in June.

Ghana's opponents at the World Cup - Serbia, Australia and Germany will all travel to Angola to monitor the Black Stars.

But the absent key players could be used to revamp the squad ahead of the World Cup to wrong-foot their group opponents.

The Black Stars will play in the tough Group B where they face Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Togo.

Goalkeepers:  Richard Kingson (Wigan, England), Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professionals, Ghana), Philemon McCarthy (Hearts of Oak, Ghana)

Defenders:  John Paintsil (Fulham, England), Hans Adu Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Samuel Inkoom (Basel, Switzerland) Eric Addo (Roda JC, Holland) Isaac Vorsah (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany) John Mensah (Sunderland, England), Lee Addy (Bechem Chelsea, Ghana) Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia)

Midfielders:  Ibrahim Ayew (Zamalek, Egypt) Michael Essien (Chelsea, England) Anthony Annan (Rosenborg, Norway), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Sampdoria, Italy), Opoku Agyemang (Al Sadd, Qatar) Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese, Italy) Moussa Narry (Auxerre, France) Andre Ayew (Arles-Avagnon, France) 

Attackers:  Matthew Amoah (NAC Breda, Holland) Asamoah Gyan (Rennes, France), Dominic Adiyiah (Fredrikstad FK, Norway) Haminu Draman (Locomotiv Moscow, Russia)

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