Former Youth and Sports Minister, Honourable E.T Mensah has reacted to the nationality switch of some foreign-based players who have reportedly showed interest to represent Ghana.
The stories of players in the persons of Inaki Williams, Nico Williams, Tariq Lamptey, Eddie Nketiah and Hudson-Odoi who are steps away from completing their nationality switch to represent Ghana at the national team level have dominated front pages of different newspapers and the internet since the Black Stars walked over Nigeria to qualify for the World Cup.
According to Honourable E.T Mensah, who ruled as Youth and Sports Minister some years back in Ghana, the aforementioned footballers should not just walk in for the World Cup but they need to justify their inclusion in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before they can be in the nation’s colours for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Despite being capped three times for Gareth Southgate’s England, the Chelsea playmaker’s only copmpetitive appearances for the side were before the age of 21 and he is allowed to switch.
However, he would not be able to play for the Black Stars until November at the earliest, as FIFA rules state that there must be a three year gap after the player’s final senior appearance before they can register for a new international team.
This means that he would be available for the World Cup squad for Ghana.
EDDIE NKETIAH – ARSENAL, ENGLAND
Arsenal striker Nketiah is England’s all-time record scorer at Under 21 level, having netted 16 goals in 17 appearances.
Nketiah, 22, never made the step up to senior soccer for England though, unlike Hudson-Odoi.
Eddie Nketiah saw his stock soar in the 2021-22 season after scoring vital goals for Arsenal in their bid to secure Champions League football.
The 22-year old spent his youth career playing for both Chelsea and Arsenal before ultimately signing on as a professional in the red side of London in 2017.
TARIQ LAMPTEY – BRIGHTON AND HOLVE ALBION, ENGLAND
Lamptey is yet to represent England at the senior level, however he has appeared for the European nation across its youth teams.
Lamptey has represented England at the youth level and recently received a call-up to the England U21 in March but is still eligible to play for the Black Stars and if the account of coach Freddie is anything to go by, then the Brighton defender will be committing his future to the West African nation.
Both Nketiah, Lamptey and Hudson-Odoi were born and raised in London, but they have family roots in Ghana.
INAKI AND NICO WILLIAMS – ATHLETIC BILBAO, SPAIN
The Spanish-born brothers, Nico and Inaki Williams who were born to Ghanaian parents and raised in Spain will also be available anytime they open up for the call-up.
Report suggest the Ghana Football Association (GFA) has also begun the processes to facilitate their nationality switch.
Should this happen, Inaki and Nico will be available to feature at the 2022 World Cup later this year in Qatar.
The Black Stars have been paired in a tough Group H, where they’ll be facing Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea at the World Cup.
Speaking to Ghanasportspage.com at the Tema Sports Stadium after a Division One League clash that saw Dansoman Liberty Professionals returning with a 2-1 win over Tema Youth Football Club, the former Minister for Youth and Sports explained,
“If they wish to play they should come and justify their inclusions. They are Ghanaians and we don not just want to go and show up. We want to go and bring something and that is why they need to come and justify their inclusion. When they come and the are good and can play we bring them on board.
“At the end of the day it’s a result, and the positive result is what we want.
“If I were in the shoes of management they will have to come and start from there. Others struggle to qualify us for the World and they cannot just jump in.” Honourable Enoch Teye Mensah stated.
Ghana will on 1st June 2022 open their AFCON 2023 qualifiers against Madagascar at 7:00PM at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium before travelling to Central African Republic four days later.
Leave a Reply