Much-touted İstanbul Başakşehir midfielder, Joseph Larweh Attamah, will finally make a dream debut with the Black Stars as he joins the team’s third training session today as part of the build-up towards the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
The former Satellites dependable defender, who has been in a form of his life for his Turkish club this season, was expected in the country last night after featuring in a cup match for İstanbul Başakşehir in midweek.
Young promising goalkeeper Ati-Zigi, 20, and Attamah, 22, both excelled at New Zealand 2013 and have been knocking on the doors of the senior national team since then with their impressive performances for Red Bull Salzburg/FC Leifering and İstanbul Başakşehir respectively.
Unlike Attamah, Ati-Zigi has been training with the Stars at the Aquinas School in Accra since Wednesday.
According to Graphic Sports investigations, Last Monday’s emergency meeting, held at the instance of the management committee, chaired by George Afriyie, was to scrutinise a 30-man squad earlier submitted by Grant and also afford him the opportunity to defend the inclusion of certain players.
In what was described as a healthy discussion amidst tension, a close source revealed that the committee told the coach about the need to change the face of his team following the Stars’ abysmal performances of late and, therefore, suggested the inclusion of some players, who, in their view, were performing better for their clubs than others on his template list.
According to the source, the committee made it clear to Grant that it did not believe the team he presented could live up to expectation in Gabon, having played five matches in recent times without the required results, scoring only two goals and conceding four.
The source said the committee, therefore, impressed upon Grant to consider tightening his defence and also review his attacking line to boost Ghana’s chances at AFCON 2017.
While Grant is said to have been overtaken by events due to the way the meeting went, the committee members were categorical about some players whom they wanted to be replaced by other foreign-based players who were in a better shape.
It disclosed that unlike previously, the final 23-man squad for the tournament would be named at the end of the non-residential camping tomorrow before they fly to Dubai for the final phase of preparations from January 2-13.
However, five players will be put on a waiting list for any eventuality, while the GFA is expected to submit the final list to CAF 10 clear days to the tournament.
The Graphic Sports can also reveal that five UK-based players named in the provisional squad – Andre Dede Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Daniel Amartey, Christian Atsu and Andy Yiadom (Barnsley) — will join their teammates in Dubai, making them automatic choices for the tournament.
Other potentials for the final 23 include: Goalkeepers: Razak Braimah (Cordoba, Spain), Adam Kwarasey (Rosenborg, Norway) Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars) or Lawrence Ati-Zigi (Leifering, Austria); Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Baba Rahman (Schalke, Germany), John Boye (Sivasspor, Turkey), Jonathan Mensah (Anzhi, Russia); Midfielders: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy), Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Mubarak Wakaso (Panathinaikos, Greece), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium) and Samuel Tetteh (Leifering, Austria).
The other forwards could possibly be Asamoah Gyan (Al-Ahli Dubai), Abdul-Majeed Waris (Lorient, France), Ebenezer Assifuah (Sion, Switzerland) and Raphael Dwamena (SC Austria Lustenau).