CK Akonnor explains his 23-man squad

Black Stars Head Coach CK Akonnor has been explaining to us, the reason for including the likes of Baba Abdul Rahman, Mubarak Wakaso, Afful Harrison and German-born Jamie Leweling in his 23-man squad for next month’s doubleheader against Sudan.

Read on for a full transcript:

On Baba Abdul Rahman

Baba Rahman was once a regular player here; due to injury, he was taken out. Now he is back, he is fit, he is playing very well with his team. Unfortunately, he has not had the chance to play in the first team. But he has had a couple of friendly matches since August, September and even recently 24th October, which he played against Liverpool’s second team. And these matches, he has played 90 minutes, some are 90 minutes, a lot of 90 minutes and of course 70 minutes. So, we have taken a lot of consideration, looking at the fact that we have a little bit of weakness within that area, the full-backs so I thought it necessary to bring him to compete with Gideon on that side.

On Afful Harrison  

For me, I am looking for immediate solutions and if you want to do that you don’t want to play around, you want to go straight to the point and therefore the immediate solutions are those guys. Again, on the right side, just recently, this young gentleman, Benson, who did very, very well. But he needs support, he needs the old guys to be around, to learn from them and therefore I thought it wise to bring around none other person than Harrison Afful, to back him up and of course, support him and that is why Harrison is also there.

On John Boye

John Boye is again an old guy; all this is because of the fact that we want immediate solutions and therefore it is needed for us to deal with the experience and those who have been in such surroundings before. They have the experience, been around the terrain before and know what it takes to play qualification and so I thought it wise to bring someone who’s doing well in Europe. People have talked about him and I think he deserves that chance and that’s why he’s here to support the team.

On Mubarak Wakasso

The same issue. For him, I spoke to him when we were going to Antalya. His time is up to join us and received that message in a very good manner and he’s here again to support the team with his rich experience.

On Jefferey Schlupp

He had the chance to come, he has also been away for some time. But unfortunately, when we were about to go to Turkey, he got injured and I think I still want to keep that team and now that he’s fit and doing well, he has a chance of coming to help us.

On Jemie Leweling

He is a young man who is all over the place with lots of teams interested in him because of what he has done. He is growing very fast. He just got a chance from the second team and now he is with the first team. He’s been a player I believe is a hope for the future. He is one of the guys that we can have because he’s young, 19 years of age and he has had the chance to play for the German national team and so we are looking at how we can also get him on board to also help us in the future. He’s somebody I believe if not today, he’s going to be the hope for our future and that’s why he’s here.

On whether he has spoken to Jamie

As we speak now, I have spoken to him but I haven’t assured him. I went to Germany to watch him because he was also recommended by our technical director (Bernhard Lippert). Nobody had an idea, but he said he is a good talent and so we have to watch him. So, I went to see him play, it was not enough but the two matches that I saw, I think it’s a good opportunity for him to also come here and showcase his talent but I believe he’s one good talent, hope for the future.

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