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Le Roy Races To Meet CAF Deadline

Black Stars coach, Claude Le Roy, is racing against time to present his Nations Cup provisional list to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) for onward submission to CAF next week.

The Frenchman and his technical crew have only nine days to present Ghana's provisional squad to meet CAF's December 20 deadline for all 16 participating teams for Ghana 2008.

In connection with that, the Black Stars Management Committee was billed to discuss the issue with the technical team at an anticipated marathon meeting which was supposed to address a wide range of issues yesterday evening.

GFA Predident, Kwesi Nyantakyi, who disclosed this to the Graphic Sports yesterday, pointed out that each country was permitted to send any number of players in the provisional list as CAF did not give any specific limit.

He, however, hinted that the Stars' provisional list, which would comprise players earmarked for the pre-tournament camping in the United Arab Emirates from January 3-15, would not be too large.

The FA boss explained that each country was obliged to pick the final 23 players for the January-February tournament from the provisional list to be sent to CAF.

This means that the Nations Cup dream will be effectively over for any player who fails to make the provisional squad.

Graphic Sports investigations revealed that Le Roy had picked a large pool of 40 players which would eventually be pruned down to 25.

Mr Nyantakyi also revealed that Le Roy's final 23-man squad is expected to reach the CAF Secretariat in Cairo, Egypt, by January 10, 10 clear days before the opening match of Ghana 2008 between Ghana and Guinea at the 40,000-seater Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.

Le Roy, who maintains that he has his core team of 16 players already in place, invited 26 players for last month's Zenith Four-Nation International Tournament hosted and won by the Black Stars in Accra.

The sure cards comprise goalkeepers Richard Kingson and Sammy Adjei, John Paintsil, Hans Adu Sarpei, Shilla Illiasu, John Mensah, Eric Addo, Michael Essien, Laryea Kingson, Sulley Muntari, Haminu Dramani, skipper Stephen Appiah, Asamoah Gyan, Junior Agogo, Anthony Annan and Michael Helegbe.

All the players who featured in the four-nation tournament have a bright chance of making the provisional list. These include Etoile du Sahel midfielder, Moses Narh, and returnees like Kofi Amponsah, Matthew Amoah and Baffour Gyan who is currently recuperating from a thigh injury he sustained in the Ghana-Benin final.

As Le Roy himself hinted in an interview with this paper a few weeks back, Holland-based defender, Francis Dickoh, whose position was taken by Kofi Amponsah during the mini tourney, might miss the boat this time.

The team will be complemented with one local goalkeeper as a stand-by for regulars, Kingson and Adjei.

Story by Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo

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