28 Black Stars and a dream

All we can do is dream. For a nation that has been so close, yet so far on numerous occasions, that is truly all we can do. If two Golden generations failed to deliver Africa’s Holy Grail then asking the Silver Generation smeared with some Gold Dust to do so seems a bit of a stretch. But to quote Andy Dufresne from the movie Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things”. So, go on and dream.

The AFCON will be back on our television sets, our radios and our social media feeds for the next month. Our flickering love for the Black Stars will light up without our consent. So, will the reconstructive-surgery-needing #BringBackTheLove campaign by the GFA. Milo is back in the dugout but hopefully, Operation 1 Goal has retired (our hearts need it to retire).  Milo’s final squad contains an Aspire Academy Graduate, two players from Dreams FC and 3 former Right to Dream trainees (in case you needed a reason to keep dreaming).

Joseph Wollacott (Goalkeeper) :

He has mostly impressed since he became the Number 1 Goalkeeper of the BlackStars but the Jury of 30million is still assessing the evidence. The AFCON would be his most important cross-examination. 

Abdul Manaf, Ati Zigi, Richard Attah (Goalkeepers):

The 3 other Goalkeepers that will be challenging Wollacatt for the number 1 jersey. They will likely spend the whole tournament helping to keep the bench warm. Hopefully one of them is a penalty shoot-out expert because it is Ghana at a tournament and we might need a hero between the sticks.

Goalkeepers L-R: Jojo Wollacott, Lawrence Ati-Zigi, Abdul Manaf Nurudeen and Richard Attah

Andy Yiadom (Defender):

For a tournament that will star a lot of exciting wide attackers, the Black Stars first choice right-back will need to dig deep into his bag of Championship experience.

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Philemon Baffour (Defender):

To show how much faith we have in him, the nation will clamour for Amartey to start at right-back if Yiadom is not available. The experience will definitely do him a lot of good.

Daniel Amartey ( Defender)  :

Represents our best defender going into the tournament. Milo needs to play him in his best position.

Jonathan Mensah (Defender):

Although he is not the Rock our defense is built on, he is a good complimentary piece. 

Alexander Djiku (Defender)  :

Djiku was the best thing from the failed CK Akunnor experiment. He will need to be at his best in the Black Stars shaky defense.

Baba Rahman (Defender) :

His attacking runs will be crucial for a team that struggles to create.  

Gideon Mensah (Defender):

He is suffering from the good-for-club but not-so-good for country syndrome. Goes to the tournament as Baba Rahman’s backup.

David Abagna(Midfielder), Maxwell Quaye( Attacker), Abdul Mumin (Defender): 

They go to the tournament as the backup options to the backup options. The experience will do them a lot of good. They should make sure they take a lot of pictures.

Mubarak Wakaso (Midfielder):

Wakaso was supposed to be Muntari 2.0, but then flirted for a brief period as Muntari 1.5 then switched to Muntari 0.9 and is currently operating as Muntari 0.5. If for one month only he can even morph into Muntari 1.1 then this could be our year.

Daniel Kyere (Midfielder):

He is a name all guys should try and memorize because lots of girls will be asking “who is that fine one ” when he shows up on TV. He earned his ticket with that performance against South Africa when he came in for Kudus. He could be a temporary Kudus Fix.

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Baba Idrissu (Midfielder):  

He needs to be the motherboard on which Partey’s Roaming Service can be activated. A chance for him to “Anthony Annan” himself into our hearts.

Edmund Addo ((Midfielder):

He should treat every minute at the AFCON as that night in the Bernabeu and the whole of Ghana will be singing there is a “New Sheriff In Town”.

Thomas Partey (Midfielder):

That performance against Man City a week ago is all we ask for. He will need to continue chipping in with goals because it is not like we have an inform Saka or Martinelli. We need to have Mariana Kovacevic on speed dial because Thomas’s fitness is crucial if we want to Partey like it is 1982 (of course I had to sneak a Partey pun in there).

Mohammed Kudus (Midfielder):

 Kudus is simply the fulcrum around which a Dede and Parteyless Black Stars will be built. He is a Global Superstar in waiting.  A squad of 28 players definitely had room for him as long as he can contribute at a point in the tournament.

Samuel Owusu (Attacker): 

He was the next Atsu but some of his performances will make you “Achoo” (sneeze). Needs to step out of the cold.

Fatawu Issahaku (Attacker) :

The “Enfant Fatalwu” is a mesmerizing machine. He represents the Black Stars secret weapon.

Kamal Deen Suleymana (Attacker):

He is out there in the French Ligue 1 out-Neymaring Neymar. On a continent that has some of the top wide attackers in World football, this is his chance to move his name from the waiting list to the main list. 

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Andre Dede Ayew (Attacker):

Andre Ayew is Ghana’s top scorer in the Africa Cup of Nations with 9 goals.

A chance to perpetually step out of his father’s larger than life shadow. If the whole of Ghana will clap non-stop at the end of the tournament, Dede will need to lead like he has never done.  

Richmond Boakye Yiadom (Attacker):

Yiadom once missed out of playing in the AFCON after injuring himself playing table tennis and ever since, his relationship with the Black Stars has been ping-pongish. We will need him to smash in the goals when he gets the opportunity.

Benjamin Tetteh (Attacker):

After flirting with Gyan’s iconic number 3, the striker has side-stepped that heavy burden. At 6 ft 4 in he is a giant of a striker but what we will need him to be is a “Gyant” of a striker. 

Jordan Ayew (Attacker):

The Striker/Attacker/Winger/Forward recently ended his goalscoring drought of biblical proportions for his club side. We will need him to deliver when the time comes for Ghana to cross the “So Close, Yet So Far” River into the Promise Land. Ooooooooh and it has been 40 years of wandering through the trophyless wilderness. So now that is another reason to Dream On.

Joseph Paintsil (Attacker) :

These were the words the attacker tweeted after the friendly defeat against Algeria

“Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you”

By Kwesi Asomadu