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21.03.2007 Football News


By mygfb-Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah

Injuries to Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien has prompted the call-up of two Olympic team players into the Ghana squad for the double header friendly with Austria and Brazil.

A third goalkeeper has also been added to the team for the upcoming friendly matches.

Black Stars coach, Claude Le Roy has drafted IK Start's Anthony Annan and Egaleo midfielder, Bernard Yao Kumordzi into Ghana's squad as replacements for the injured duo.

Liberty Professionals goalkeeper, Patrick Antwi, also a member of the Olympic team has been handed a call up, thus increasing the goalkeeping choice to three.

All three players, members of the Olympic team, the Black Meteors would be in line to mark their debut with the Black Stars.

The call up of a third goalkeeper has increased the local component in the team to two whiles the squad numbers shoots up to 21 from an initial 20.

Stephen Appiah suffered a thigh strain while playing for Fenerbahce over the weekend in their 4-0 win of Bursaspor in the Turkish league.

The Black Stars captain, after under-going MRI scans on Monday was given a two-week time off.

Michael Essien, who has missed Chelsea's last two games against Sheffield United in a league game and Monday's FA Cup quarter final replay against Tottenham through injury, is also ruled out for Ghana's games.

The midfielder would be out of action for three weeks after picking up a knee injury while playing for Chelsea in the first leg tie against Tottenham at the Stamford Bridge.

Ghana coach, Claude Le Roy initially named a 20-man squad for the upcoming friendly fixtures later this month.

Ghana would play two separate international away friendly games against Austria and Brazil within a four-day period.

The Black Stars begin their two-game friendly series in Graz first where they play Euro 2008 co-host, Austria on Saturday before flying out to take on former world champions, Brazil three days later in Solna, Sweden.

The game against the Austrians would be the second friendly for the Black Stars this year after their 4-1 thumping of Nigeria last month in a similar fixture.

Ghana's the encounter with Brazil on March 27 comes almost nine months after the South American nation edged out the Black Stars in the second round of last year's World Cup.

Both matches are expected to boost the Black Stars' preparations towards the African Cup of Nations in 2008.

Ghana, by virtue of being host of the 2008 African Cup of Nations finals would not be playing any competitive match until January 2008, when the tournament kicks off in Accra.

Ghana squad:

Goalkeepers: Sammy Adjei (Mohadon Sports Ashdod, Israel), Richard Kingson (BB Ankaraspor, Turkey) Patrick Antwi (Liberty Professionals, Ghana)

Defenders: Hans Adu Sarpie (VFL Wolfsburg, Germany), John Paintsil (West Ham, England), Francis Dickoh (FC Utrecht, Holland), Alfred Arthur (AshantiGold, Ghana), Iliasu Alhassan (Saturn FC, Russia) John Mensah (Rennes, France)

Midfielders: Anthony Annan (IK Start, Norway) Bernard Yao Kumordzi (Egaleo, Greece) Laryea Kingson (Hearts, Scotland) Sulley Muntari (Udinese, Italy) Haminu Draman (Genclerbirligi, Turkey) Eric Addo (PSV Eindhoven, Holland) Michael Helegbe (Guingamp, France)

Forwards: Junior Agogo (Nottingham Forest, England), Peter Ofori-Quaye (OFI-Crete, Greece) Asamoah Gyan (Udinese, Italy) Derek Boateng (Beitar Jerusalem, Israel) and Alex Tachie Menson (St. Gallen, Switzerland).