Wednesday, May 3, 2023

What if Ghana naturalised more players for the 2022 World Cup Finals

 This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

World Cup 2022

Argentina World Cup 1946

Ghana was one of the five teams from Africa at the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar.  The World Cup in Qatar was be their fourth World Cup Finals, having made their debut in 2006 where they reached the round of 16.  Qatar was their first World Cup appearance since 2014, having failed to qualify for the 2018 edition.  In the World Cup Finals, they finished last in their group.  Their fans must have been disappointed, but expectations should be low. Prior to the World Cup Finals. In 2021, Ghana has one of their weakest showings in their AFCON history when they were eliminated in the group stage for the first time since 2006.  They only managed a draw against Gabon while losing to Morocco and Comoros. It was Comoros' first ever AFCON tournament in their history.  Ghana beat South Africa on goal difference on the group standing during the second round of their World Cup Qualification.  They were not in control of their destiny on the last match day as they needed a win against South Africa who only needed a draw to advance to the next round.  It took a questionable penalty to beat South Africa 1-0.  On the final qualifying round for the World Cup Finals, the Black Stars won on away goals against Nigeria after drawing both legs. 

Meanwhile, Morocco became the first African team to reach the semifinal of the World Cup Final by fielding a team full of foreign-born Moroccans.  Ghana also actively searched for foreign-born Ghanaians to play for them, but was less successful than the Moroccans.  What if Ghana was able to convince more Ghana-eligible players to play for them? The addition of the more established players  would have improved the team. Perhaps, Ghana could have gone further.

Joe Wollacott (Ghana), Richard Ofori (Ghana), Jeremie Firmpong (Netherlands), Alphonso Davies (Canada),Yunus Musah (USA), Cody Gapko (Netherlands), Memphis Depay (Netherlands), Jeremy Doku (Belgium),  Ethan Ampadu (Wales), Nico Williams (Spain), Danny Welbeck (England), Eddie Nketiah (England)

Abdul Manaf Nurudeen, Ibrahim Danlad, Gideon Mensah, Denis Odoi, Alidu Seidu, Elisha Owusu, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Daniel Afriyie Barnieh, Antoine Semenyo, Osman Bukari, Kamal Sowah, Kamaldeen Sulemana.

In Qatar, Ghana still controlled their own destiny on the last match of the group stage against Uruguay.  At that point, they had 3 points after narrowly losing to Portugal and beating a formable South Korea. I thought Ghana performed poorly in the first two matches, despite being in second place.  They gave up 5 goals after two matches.  In total, they would give up 7 at the end of their tournament. Some of them were very soft goals.  So I reinforced with two goalkeepers, two defenders and a defensive midfielder.

On the last match, Uruguay played much better than Ghana.  However, with the addition of 12 players, Ghana would be have transformed into a different team.  Uruguay was actually an aging team. Their defense was known to be slow, and this imaginary Ghanaian team would be blessed with fast players such as Memphis Depay, Alphonso Davies and the Williams brothers. Furthermore, Ghana was on a mission for a revenge against Uruguay and Luis Suarez whose handball stopped Ghana's goal-bound header in the final minute of extra time in the quarterfinal of the 2010 World Cup Finals.  Ghana would have became the first African country to reach the semifinal of a World Cup Finals.  In real life, that motivation was not enough to beat Uruguay in 2022, but this would be a different team.  It was very possible that Ghana could at least get a draw against Uruguay.
Ghana vs Uruguay
In the next round, Ghana would be playing either Brazil or Switzerland depending on the outcome of Group H.  The Brazilians, of course would be tough.   In September, 2022, Brazil beat Ghana 3-0 in a friendly match held in France.  Meanwhile, Ghana did beat Switzerland 1-0 7 days before Ghana played Portugal in the World Cup Finals.  Of course, friendly matches right before the World Cup Finals should not be taken seriously. Besides, for Ghana to play against Switzerland, they must qualify in the first place.  A victory against Uruguay might do the job. And in the last minutes of the match against Portugal, goalkeeper Diogo Costa nearly made a blunder that almost gave Ghana an equalising goal.  

If they overcame Switzerland in the round of 16, Ghana would play Morocco.  Morocco would be on a high note after drawing Croatia and beating Belgium, Canada and Spain at that point.  This All-African final would be hard to predict with a different set of players on the field.

Team (26 members team)
GK: Joe Wollacott (Charlton Athletic, Ghana) * new player
In 2019, Wollacott joined EFL League Two side Forest Green Rovers on loan for the 2019–20 season where he made his debut in professional football.  From 2021-2022 season, he played for Swindon.  He made it to the EFL League Two Team of the Season 2021–22.  A year later, he joined Charlton Athletic.  Born in England, he represents the Ghana national team.  He made his debut in 2021 for them.

GK: Lawrence Ati-Zigi (St. Gallen)
In January 2015, Ati-Zigi joined Red Bull Salzburg from Ghanaian feeder club Red Bull Ghana. Ati-Zigi was immediately loaned out to reserve team FC Liefering.  From 2017 to 2020, he played for Sochaux in France.  And then, he joined St.Gallen in 2020.  At the time of writing, he played 14 times for Ghana.  He was their starting goalkeeper in the 2022 World Cup Finals.

GK: Richard Ofori (Orlando Pirates/Ghana) * new player
Ofori spent a number of seasons with Westland FC (a second division club in Accra) before he joined Wa Allstars of Wa, Ghana.  Ofori moved to Premier Soccer League club Maritzburg United of South Africa on a three-year contract in 2018, and then, he moved to Orlando Pirates also in South Africa in 2020.  Since 2015, he played 24 times for Ghana.  He went to 2017 and 2019 African Cup of Nations.

RB: Tariq Lamptey (Brighton & Hover/Ghana) 
Born in London, Tariq Lamptey came from the youth team in Chelsea.  He played once for their first team before moving to Brighton & Hover Albion.  Lamptey was born in England to Ghanaian parents. He has been a youth international for England, having represented the Young Lions from under-18 to under-21 level.  In 2022, he switched to play for Ghana.  He represented them at the 2022 World Cup Finals.
Tariq Lamptey
RB: Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen/Netherlands) * new player
Born in the Netherlands, Frimpong is of Ghanaian descent on his mother's side. His family moved to England when he was young.  He chose to represent the Netherlands in football.  He went to the 2022 World Cup.  From 2019 to 2021, he played for Celtic.  In 2021, he moved to Bayer Leverkusen.  He was named in the Kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 2021–22.

CB: Daniel Amartey (Leicester/England)
Daniel Amartey played for Djurgårdens IF for a season before moving to FC Copenhagen in 2014, where he played for two seasons.  In 2016, he moved to Leicester Town.  In January 2015, Amartey played in all the group matches for Ghana at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, where the Black Stars finished as runners-up.  He had over 50 caps for Ghana since 2015.  He represented them at the 2022 World Cup Finals.

CB: Mohammed Salisu (Southampton/Ghana)
Salisu started his senior career with Valladolid, featuring for the reserve side before making his first team debut in 2019. He made 34 appearances for the club before joining Southampton for a £10.9 million fee in 2020.  He received his first international call up in 2019, but he delayed his international cap until 2022.   He represented them at the 2022 World Cup Finals.

CB: Alexander Djiku (Strasbourg/Ghana)
Djiku spent his youth career at Bastia. He played for the reserve team until 2014, when he was promoted to the senior team. In 2017, Djiku joined Caen on a four-year contract. He was acquired by fellow Ligue 1 club Strasbourg in July 2019.  Since 2020, he had played for Ghana.  He represented them at the 2022 World Cup Finals. He won the Ghana Football Awards Footballer of the Year and  Ghana Football Awards Foreign-based Footballer of the Year in 2022.

CB: Joseph Aidoo (Celta Vigo/Ghana)
Joseph Aidoo started his career in Ghana with Inter Allies. In 2015, he joined Swedish club Hammarby IF in Allsvenskan.  After a season, he joined Genk in Belgium.  Since 2019, he joined Celta Vigo in Spain. He made his debut for the Ghana national football team on 26 March 2019 in a friendly against Mauritania.  He had about 11 caps at the time of writing.

LW/LB: Alphonso Davis (Bayern Munich/Canada) * new player
Davies was the first player born in the 2000s to play in a Major League Soccer match. Davies joined Bayern in January 2019 from MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC on a contract lasting for a then-MLS record transfer fee.  Davies was named the Bundesliga Rookie of the Season for 2019–20.[6] In that season he also was part of the team winning the continental treble after Bayern won the Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League and the DFB-Pokal.
Alphonso Davis
LB: Abdul-Rahman Baba (Reading/Ghana)
Beginning his career at Dreams FC, he played in the Ghanaian Premier League with Asante Kotoko. In 2012, he signed for Bundesliga club Greuther Fürth, where he spent two seasons. He then played for FC Augsburg before joining Chelsea in 2015 for a fee of £14 million, potentially rising to £22 million. Rahman made his international debut in 2014 and was part of their squad which were runners-up at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

DM/CM: Salis Abdul Samed (Lens/Ghana)
In  2019, Abdul Samed joined Clermont on a two-year loan deal from the JMG Academy. In 2021, Abdul Samed moved to Clermont on a permanent basis, but moved to Lens in a transfer worth a reported €5 million a year later.  He made his debut in 2022 during the World Cup Finals, where he started all matches for Ghana.

DM/CB: Ethan Ampadu (Spezia/Wales) * new player
Ampadu played for Exeter City, where he became the youngest player to appear for their first team. In 2017, he joined Chelsea, but at the time of writing, he was sent on loan. After playing for England at under-16 level, he played for Wales at under-16, under-17 and under-19 level, before making his senior debut for Wales in 2017. He was part of the Wales squad that reached the round of 16 at Euro 2020. He went to the 2022 World Cup Finals.
Ethan Ampadu 
DM/CM: Yunus Musah (Valencia/USA) * new player
Born in the United States to Ghanaian parents, he grew up mostly in Italy and England. He was a youth international for England before committing to the United States in 2021. Since 2020, he played over 25 times for the USMNT.  He played in the 2022 World Cup finals.  For his club career, he made his professional debut for Valencia in 2020 after coming up from their academy.

DM/CM: Thomas Partey (Arsenal/Ghana)
Partey began his career at Atlético Madrid in 2013. In 2020, he joined Arsenal in a transfer worth €50 million), becoming the most expensive Ghanaian player of all time. He represented his nation at three Africa Cup of Nations (2017, 2019, and 2021) and the 2022 World Cup. He was named into the CAF Team of the Year in 2018, and won Ghana Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019.

RW: Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao/Spain)* new player
Born in Pamplona, Navarre, Williams joined the youth academy of Athletic Bilbao in 2013 from hometown side CA Osasuna. He began his senior career with the club's farm team, Basconia, during the 2019–20 season.  His borther is Inaki Williams who played for both Spain and Ghana.  He himself started to respresent Spain in 2022, and played in the World Cup Finals.

RW: Jeremey Doku (Rennes/Belgium) * new player
Jeremey Doku  started his career R.S.C. Anderlecht where he joined their academy in 2012. He made his professional debut in November 2018, at the age of 16.  After spending 2 and half seasons with them, he moved to Rennes in 2020.  In 2020, he made his debut with Belgium.  He played in Euro 2022, but did not feature much in the 2022 World Cup Finals.

RW/FW: Abdul Fatawu Issahaku  (Sporting CP/Ghana)
In 2019, at the age of fifteen, Issahaku started his career with Tamale-based club Steadfast FC. in the Ghanian second tier.  After he starred in the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, he joined Sporting CP.  In the same year, he made a debut for the senior national team.  He represented them at the 2022 World Cup Finals.  He is considered one of Africa's brightest future stars.

LW/AW: Andre Ayew
Andre Ayew is the son of Abedi Pele.  He began his career in Ghana, playing for Nania. In 2005, he signed with his father's former club, Marseille. He made over 200 appearances and winning consecutive Trophée des champions and Coupe de la Ligues in both 2010 and 2011. He also played for Swansea. In 2011 Ayew was named the BBC African Footballer of the Year and Ghanaian Footballer of the Year. He represented Ghana at the World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014.
Andre Ayew 
AM/FW/LWF: Cody Gapko (PSV/Netherlands) * new player
A PSV academy graduate, Gakpo made his first-team debut in February 2018. In the 2021–22 season, he won the Dutch Footballer of the Year award after scoring 21 goals in 47 games in all competitions. He signed for Liverpool in January 2023. Gakpo played youth international football for the Netherlands from under-18 to under-21 level. He made his senior international debut in June 2021 at UEFA Euro 2020.

AM: Mohammed Kudus (Ajax/Ghana)
Kudus arrived at Danish club Nordsjælland from the Ghanaian Right to Dream Academy in 2018.  In 2020, he joined Ajax.  For the national team, he has capped 23 times at the time of writing.  He represented Ghana at the 2022 World Cup Finals, where he scored two goals against Korea.  He was named SWAG Sport Personality of the Year in 2022 as well as the Best Foreign Footballer of the Year.  He was also named in the IFFHS CAF Team of the Year in 2022.  
Mohammed Kudus 
FW: Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace/ Ghana)
Born in Marseille, Ayew made his debut with Marseille in 2009.  After 2014, he played for many clubs before joining Crystal Palace in 2019.
Ayew made his debut for the Ghana national team in 2010 and has earned over 80 caps. He has played in two FIFA World Cups (2014 and 2022), as well as five Africa Cup of Nations (2012, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021), helping them finish runners-up in 2015.  He was Ghana Player of the Year in 2020.

FW/RW: Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao/Spain) 
Developed at Athletic Bilbao's academy, he made over 375 first-team appearances for the club, including a La Liga record of 251 consecutive games. He scored the winning goal of the 2020–21 Supercopa de España. Born in Spain to Ghanaian parents, Williams made his full debut for the Spain national team in 2016. In 2022, he chose to represent Ghana at international level, being selected for the 2022 World Cup.

FW: Memphis Depay (Barcelona FC/Netherlands) * new player
Memphis began his career with PSV Eindhoven, where he won the Dutch Footballer of the Year. in 2015  In 2015, he joined Manchester United, but moved to Lyon in 2017.  In 2021, he joined Barcelona FC.  At the time of writing, he earned over 80 caps for the Netherlands starting in 2013.  He played in 2014 and 2022 World Cup Finals as well as the Euro 2020.  In 2014, he became the youngest Dutchman to score a goal at the World Cup, at the age of 20 years and four months
Memphis Depay
ST: Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal/England) * new player
Nketiah started his career with Arsenal and made his debut in 2017. He played on loan at Leeds United in their 2019–20 Championship title-winning season.  He was mainly a backup in Arsenal until after the 2022 World Cup Finals.  He is the all-time leading scorer for England U21 national team.  He has yet to play in the senior level for England, and was linked with Ghana.

ST: Danny Welbeck (Brighton & Hover Albion/England) * new player
Danny Welbeck played regularly for Manchester United between 2009 and 2014.  He was transferred to rival Arsenal in 2014. In 2019, he joined Watford, following his release by Arsenal before joining Brighton & Hove Albion a year later. He made his debut for England in 2011.  He has gone on to represent England at UEFA Euro 2012, the 2014 World Cup and the 2018 World Cup, earning 42 caps, scoring 16 goals.
Danny Welbeck

Players' Pool
Abdul Manaf Nurudeen, Ibrahim Danlad, Iddrisu Baba, Stephan Ambrosius, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Elisha Owusu, Daniel Afriyie Barnieh, Joseph Aidoo, Isak Hien (Sweden), Jeffrey Schlupp (Germany), Gideon Mensah, Nikolai Alho (Finland), Richie Laryea (Canada), Denis Odoi,  Alidu Seidu, Callum Hudson-Odoi (England), Kamal Sowah, Nikolai Alho (Finland), Haji Wright (USA), Osman Bukari, Robin Quaison (Sweden), Antoine Semenyo, Felix Afena-Gyan, Kamaldeen Sulemana, Kelvin Yeboah (Italy), Ansgar Knauff (Germany), Myron Boadu (Netherlands)

Squad Explanation
-- This team was meant to be a fantasy team that included players who turned down Ghana.  Some of whom were ineligible long before the year 2022.  I looked around the world for players who could play for Ghana, but I definitely missed many other players.
-- In total, I made 12 changes to the real World Cup team.
-- I tried not to add any Ghanaian international players who did not make it to Qatar, but I did "perform" miracle and brought back two injured goalkeepers Joe Wollacott and Richard Ofori.  But I left off Iddrisu Baba and Stephan Ambrosius because Ghana badly needed goalkeepers.
-- Ten players from other national teams were added to this World Cup team.  They were Jeremie Firmpong (Netherlands), Alphonso Davies (Canada), Yunus Musah (USA), Cody Gapko (Netherlands), Memphis Depay (Netherlands), Jeremy Doku (Belgium),  Ethan Ampadu (Wales), Nico Williams (Spain), Eddie Nketiah (England Youth) and Danny Welbeck (England).  Nketiah and Welbeck were the only players who were not in the World Cup Finals.  Firmpong did not play in Qatar, but the other seven all figured in the tournament.  He and Nketiah could still switch to Ghana at the time of writing.  
Cody Gapko vs Yunus Musah 
-- Morocco had the most foreign-born players at the World Cup, with 14 out of its 26 players being born outside their country.  This imaginary Ghana team actually had 15 foreign born.  Nine of the 10 new foreign international players were born elsewhere.  Alphonso Davis, however, was born in Ghana. Five members of Ghana's original team were foreign-born. Tariq Lamptey (England) and Inaki Williams (Spain) switched their allegiance right before the World Cup Finals.  Both Andre and Jordan Ayew were born in France when their father was playing there, but being Abedi Pele's sons made them as Ghanaian as it gets.  Alexander Djiku was also born in France. Joe Wollacott who was one of two added goalkeepers was born in England.
-- I brought three players from the Dutch national team.  They were Memphis Depay, Jeremie Frimpong and Cody Gapko.  The Netherlands scored a total of 10 goals in Qatar.  Gapko and Memphis contributed to 5 of them.
-- Nico and Inaki Williams are brothers.  Of course, they played for different national team in the World Cup Finals. Jordan and Andre Ayew are another pair of brothers.  Their father was of course Abedi Pele.
-- The headlines of ESPN Africa's preview of Ghana's World Cup team were: "Ghana's squad a strong one, but a lack of top keeper could be disastrous".  Ghana lost both of their top two goalkeepers for the World Cup Finals through injuries. Joe Wollacott who was born in England was the regular goalkeeper before the World Cup Finals.  His last international game before the World Cup Finals was on September, 2022 against Brazil.  South Africa-based Richard Ofori was more experienced of the two.  He suffered a knee injury.
Joe Wallacott
-- Lawrence Ati-Zigi became the starting goalkeeper in Qatar.  
Manaf Nurudeen and Ibrahim Danlad were the backups.
-- I often took injured players to my "what-if" teams.  The idea of these teams was to create a fantasy and showcased that Ghana could have done better with more available players.  Most of the "Europeans" I added had turned down Ghana anyway.  It was actually more realistic to bring back injured players than selecting players who turned down GhanaJoe Wollacott, Richard Ofori and Lawrence Ati-Zigi would be my goalkeepers.
-- Tariq Lamptey switched to play for Ghana in July, 2022.  He was one of the more high profile player doing the switch. I took him as one of my rightbacks.  Alidu Seidu played once as a rightback for Ghana in Qatar, but he was more of a central defender. Nikolai Alho played around 20 minutes for Finland in Euro 2020.  His father was Ghanian.  I did not know much about him.  So I left off both Lamptey and Alho.  Richie Laryea (Canada) was born in Canada to Ghanaian parents too, but I did not seriously consider him.  Instead, I took Jeremie Frimpong.  He was selected by the Kicker magazine on their Bundesliga Team of the 2021-2022 season.  In the first half of the 2022-2023 season, he scored 5 goals and registered 3 assists.  Born in the Netherlands, Frimpong is of Ghanaian descent on his mother's side, but he grew up in England where he spoke not a word of Dutch.  At the time of writing, he is an emerging talent in Europe.  He is becoming one of the best right wingback in the Bundesliga.
-- Alphonso Davies was born to Liberian parents in a refugee camp in Ghana.  Is he one of the best wingback in the world? Ghana would be blessed to have him.  Baba Rahman received a big career break in 2015 when Chelsea signed him, but injuries kept him from making it big.  He was always out on loan.  For Ghana, he was their normal starter. In the World Cup Qualifier, he was injured in the two critical games against Nigeria.  Gideon Mensah stepped up on both occasions. In Qatar, he started in the first game.  His mistake allowed Portugal to score, but he also provided an assist.   Gideon Mensah took over in the second game, and played well,  But Rahman returned for the last game against Uruguay, which caused a controversy in Ghana.  However, at the time of the team selection, I would not have known that.  So I went with Rahman.
-- Daniel Amartey was considered Ghana's best defender. Mohammed Salisu had often turned down Ghana's call ups to concentrate on his career.  He only had a handful of caps by the time of the World Cup Finals, but he was probably their second best central defender after Amartey.  Alexander Djiku won the Ghana Player of the Year and Ghana Foreign Based Player of the Year in July, 2022.  
Alexander Djiku and Daniel Amartey 
-- Joseph Aidoo (Celta Vigo) and Denis Odoi (Club Brugge) were the other central defenders from the original team And I then looked into Isak Hien (Sweden) and Ethan Ampadu (Wales).
-- Club Brugge defiled all of the odds and reached the second round of that year's Champions' League.  That helped Denis Odoi onto Ghana's World Cup team, but he only switched to represent Ghana from Belgium in March, 2022.  He was 34 years old at the time of the World Cup Finals.
 -- Isak Hien just emerged a few months before the World Cup in 2022.  He was impressive since joining the Serie A club Hellas Verona that summer.  He received his first call-up to Sweden's national team in August, 2022.  His transfer value was 3 million euros which was more expensive than Denis Odoi who was rated as 600k only by transfermarkt. However, less than a year ago, he was not a full time starter in the Swedish league.  I don't know if he had the experiences to handle the World Cup.
-- Joseph Aidoo was seldom used by Ghana.  He was not selected for AFCON, but was brought back right before the World Cup Finals.  However, he has been a regular with Celta Vigo in La Liga. Transfermarkd listed his value as 8 million.  He was also in his prime.  For a safer bet, I decided to take him.
--  At the age of 22, Ethan Ampadu already played 37 times for Wales on the eve of the World Cup.  He spent a successful loan spell in Italy while contracted to Chelsea.  He was expected to return to London one day.  In 2021, he became the youngest player ever to be sent off in the European Championship.  Ethan Ampadu started as a defensive midfielder for Wales in Qatar, but also operated as a centre defender.  
-- German-born Stephan Ambrosius switched his allegiances to Ghana from Germany in July, 2022, but he missed the actual World Cup due to an injury.  Unlike the goalkeeping position, I did not need a urgent upgrade.  I did not suddenly "cure" his injury and brought him back. He was capped by Germany U21, but was uncapped at the senior level for Ghana.   
-- Ghana normally used the midfield trio of Iddrisu Baba, Thomas Partey and Mohammed Kudas before the World Cup Finals, but Baba was injured.  Instead, Salis Abdul Samed started and played all three of Ghana's World Cup matches.  He was in form at the beginning of the season with Lens.  He was a better passer than Babas.  He was still uncapped heading to Qatar, but I decided to go for him.  Elisha Owusu did not appear in the 2022 World Cup Finals.  So I did not consider him.
-- Thomas Bartey socored two stunning long range goal for Arsenal the season before.  He was a key player for Arsenal in the 2021-2022 season.  However, he suffered a serious injury at the end of the season, in which Arsenal's form overall dropped in that period.  Due to playing for Arsenal and Atletico Madrid before, he was probably Ghana's most famous player at the time of the World Cup Finals.
Thomas Partey
-- Yunus Musah (USA) gained a lot of attentions before and after the World Cup Finals.  He was a bright young star in La Liga who made his US national team debut at 17.  He is projected to be worth 20 million euros. He is a box-to-box midfielder. I also took Ethan Ampadu as mentioned above.
-- Andre Ayew was probably Ghana's best player.  His participation in Qatar made Ayew the only Ghanaian player to feature at the nation's last three World Cups.  
-- Mohammed Kudas pilgared with injuries throughout the 2021- 2022 season, but he fully recovered by the start of the 2022-2023 season.  He scored four goals including one each against Liverpool and Napoli  in six Champions League matches prior to the World Cup Finals.
-- Georginio Wijnaldum used to carry the surname Boateng because of his Ghanian stepfather.  After his mother separated from him, he dropped this surname.  He was neither born in Ghana or carried Ghanian blood.  I decided against taking him. In real life, he was dropped by the Netherlands for the World Cup Finals because of an injury.
-- On the right, brothers Inaki and Nico Williams were obvious choices.  Inaki had been deployed in the central forward position. So I put him upfront.  Jeremy Doku was as highly rated as the Williams brothers.  Osman Bukari starred in the Serbian league, but with the Williams brothers and Jeremy Doku on the squad, I did not need him.  Abdul Fatawu Issahaku was awarded as the best player at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in 2021.  He was projected to be Ghana's future star, but he had more caps for Ghana than appearances at club level at the time of the World Cup Finals.  I still took him for his potential even my team was loaded with right side attackers. He might one day become a big star.
-- Before the World Cup Finals, Ghana pursued the service of Callum Hudson-Odoi, but he turned them down. He was the second youngest ever player to play for England, but he had been out of Chelsea's first team picture in the season before the World Cup Finals.  He was sent out on loan to Bayer Leverkusen in 2022, but his season did not work out.  In 2021, Rennes paid 20 million euros for Kamaldeen Sulemana, breaking the Danish transfer record.  After the World Cup Finals, he was voted as the fastest player in Qatar and earned a move to Southampton.  However, he did not play much in Rennes. He only played a total of 17 minutes in the last 7 games before the World Cup.
Cody Gapko operated in the middle during the World Cup Finals, but he was more of a left-side attacker.  Memphis Depay was also a left wing-forward.  Alphonso Davies preferred to play as a left winger. So this team had too many wide player on the left.  I had no space for neither Callum Hudson-Odoi nor Kamaldeen Sulemana.  Instead, I would add another striker.
-- Inaki Williams normally played as a center forward.  He was a key player who switched to play for Ghana right before the World Cup Finals.
Inaki Williams
-- Memphis Depay was born in South Holland to a Ghanaian father and a Dutch mother.  His role with his club team Barcelona was limited following the arrival of Robert Lewandowski, but he remained the star of the Dutch World Cup team.  He had scored 42 goals for the Netherlands at the time of the World Cup Finals, making him their third all-time leading scorer.
-- Cody Gakpo was the Dutch Player of the Year in the 2021-2022 season. In Qatar, he started all games for Netherlands.  He scored in three consecutive group matches, which was a record of a UEFA player.  As mentioned, he was more comfortable on the left, but he played more centrally in Qatar.  He would play as a false 9 in Liverpool, where he joined immediately after Qatar.
-- Gareth Southgate had reportedly named Danny Welbeck in England's provisional 55-man World Cup squad, but the list was kept secret.  He turned 32 right before the World Cup Finals, but he was still playing regularly in the Premiership.  As comparison, Antoine Semenyo who went to the real World Cup Finals was not featured much for his club team even in the lower division.  He also performed better than Jordan Ayew who was struggling in England.  And if Welleck chose tom play for Ghana earlier in his career, he would have a veteran status just liked Jordan Ayew.   In real life, he had 42 caps for England.  With Ghana, he should have at least 80 plus caps.  Both of Welbeck's parents were Ghanaians. He was also a true nine while the rest of the forwards on this team was mainly wing-forwards who could play in the center.
-- Eddie Nketiah was a backup in Arsenal for the 2021-2022 season.  In the summer of 2022, he was undecided about his future in London, but extended his contract.  In the 2022-2023 season, his club teammate Gabriel Jesus got injured in Qatar, which gave him an opportunity in Arsenal.  He was one of the more productive strikers in the Premiership immediately after the World Cup Finals, but at the time of the team selection, we would not know about that.  He would still be a backup in Arsenal. He scored two goals (both Europa League) in total for all competitions prior to the World Cup Finals.  Nevertheless, I still carried him to Qatar.  In real life, he was asked to play for Ghana around that time.
-- Jordan Ayew struggled to score goals for Crystal Palace with just 3 three goals in the 2021-2022 season.  His goal drought extended to the following season. His first Premier league goal of the season came on December 31, 2023 after the World Cup Finals.  In this alternative world, his 80 plus caps would be reduced due to playing at the same time as Danny Welbeck, Memphis Depay, Inaki Williams, etc.  I thought about his veteran status in my alternative world, but I decided to look into the real world.  So I still took him over Kamal Sowah and Daniel Afriyie Barnieh.  His surname also carried some weight, which was not fair but it was how the real world worked.
Jordan Ayew
-- Kamal Sowah was a surprise selection for the World Cup Finals. He was uncapped on the eve of the World Cup Finals, but his club team Club Brugge advanced to the second round of the Champions' League right before the World Cup Finals.  But he actually only scored two goals in that tournament.  So I did not retain him.
-- Daniel Afriyie Barnieh was the only home-based outfielder on the World Cup team.  He did not play in Qatar.  So I dropped him.
-- Former Ghana international Michael Boye Marquaye claimed that Marcus Rashford was his son, but no one believed him.  Rashford is Jamaican.
-- Mohammed Muntari played for Qatar at the World Cup Finals, and he would continue to play for them.

I dropped Andre Ayew for a younger lineup. Depay, Kudas and Gapko are more in form player than Ayew.

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