Ghanaian internationals Rashid Sumaila and Richmond Boakye Yiadom have been included in Crvena Zvezda’s (Red Star Belgrade) UEFA Champions League (UCL) squad for the 2018/2019 group stage games.
Manager Vladan Milojević refreshingly registered the only two African players – coincidentally Ghanaians – as part of his UEFA Champions League squad.
Rashid Sumaila, formerly of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, will for the first time play in the UEFA Champions League and this will be a high point in his career.
Red Star Belgrade is paired with last year’s finalists Liverpool, PSG and Napoli in Group C.
He will be playing at top venues like Anfield in England, Parc des Princes in France and Studio San Paolo in Italy.
Sumaila, 25, a defender, will compete against very top players like PSG’s Neymar, Angel Di Maria, 2018 World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe and others.
He will also battle his fellow Africans Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Brazilian Roberto Firmino when his club meets Liverpool.
He will have to deal with Belgium World Cup star Dries Martens, Lorenzo Insigne and Marek Hamsik, at least during the group stages of Europe’s prestigious competition.
The opportunity allows Boakye Yiadom to also enjoy a UCL group stage match finally, after he left his current club earlier this year to join Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League.
After a disappointing spell in China, he rejoined his former team, which had fortunately qualified for the group stage of the UCL.
Boakye Yiadom, also 25, had a fulfilling exploit earlier with Red Star scoring 39 goals in 48 appearances.
He will hope to replicate this feat again but will face a stiffer competition from other attacking team mates to make the first team.
The UCL, arguably the world’s biggest club competition, will also present highly rated defenders like Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool, Maquinhos and Thiago Silva of PSG, Albiol and Koulibaly of Napoli.
Sumaila and Boakye will hope to start for their team in the UCL to ensure Red Star’s chances of qualifying from the group.
Red Star Belgrade won the 1991 European Cup but have failed to qualify for the UCL group stage since 1992.
By Samuel Amoesi| 3news.com| Ghana