Kwesi Appiah’s latest Ghana squad has highlighted the severity of one of the Black Stars’ longest standing problems – the dearth of quality strikers coming through.
There are few major talking points from Appiah’s squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia on November 18, although a lack of in-form strikers is an exception.
Jordan Ayew is making a return to the international fold after a year in the cold on the back of arguably his trickiest season in English football.
He has been in and out of the Crystal Palace first team this season, scored zero goals and set up one. As Palace have struggled for goals, Jordan has failed to step into the breach and has appeared out of sorts this term.
That form clearly does not matter to Appiah, who has handed another call-up to Majeed Waris.
The forward’s sole strike this season for his FC Nantes came in the French Cup against Montpellier. He has not scored for Ghana since 2014, but Appiah will now hope he finds the form to add to his four international goals in 27 games.
Emmanuel Boateng, the Levante forward, has one goal in one game for the Black Stars after his tally of six last season for the Spanish side.
This season, he is yet to get off the mark.
When Boateng bagged his six goals last season including a hat-trick against Barcelona, there was hope that he could solve Ghana’s goalscoring problems and eventually replace record international goalscorer Asamoah Gyan.
There’s still hope, even if Boateng isn’t yet realising his potential.
It’s a similar story for Raphael Dwamena, who has been dropped for the trip to Ethiopia, with Appiah opting to include out-of-form Gyan in his squad.
The captain joins the squad despite playing just 49 minutes for Kayserispor this season and failing to find the net.
Sticking with Gyan, Waris and recalling the Ayew brothers is effectively Appiah’s way of saying that he only truly trusts the Black Stars’ veteran stars and isn’t prepared to place his faith in the newer faces.
It’s true elsewhere on the pitch, where John Boye has been recalled and Christian Atsu continues to be called up, despite his struggles at Newcastle United.
Could Appiah’s reticence to turn to some of the new faces cost Ghana?
While the under-performers return, other names have been overlooked.
Benjamin Tetteh has eight goals in 14 league games at Sparta Prague. Godsway Donyoh has scored seven times in the Danish top flight this season, while in Belgium, William Owusu has netted five this term.
Appiah, ruffled badly by the loss to Kenya two months ago, when the team created and wasted many chances, clearly feels that the scale of the task in Ethiopia requires players who are experienced in the international arena.
Gyan, and the pack of forwards struggling at club level may prove him right and deliver in Addis Ababa, or the midfielders might chip in, as they have often done for Ghana on international duty.
Either way, the coach’s latest squad clearly demonstrates where the Black Stars’ primary weakness lies.