Profile: Meet the seven Black Stars debutantes for the 2017 AFCON
Monday, January 16, 2017
With less than 24 hours for the Black Stars to play their first game at the ongoing 2017 Afcon in Gabon, we take a look at the seven debutantes Coach Avram Grant selected for the tournament who will be making history at the biennial tournament.
Wa All Stars shot stopper Richard Ofori, defender Andy Yiadom of Barnsley (England), Midfielders Thomas Partey of Athletico Madrid (Spain), Ebenezer Ofori AIK Stockholm, (Sweden) and Samuel Tetteh Leifering (Austria) and strikers Ebenezer Assifuah Sion, (Switzerland) and Bernard Tekpetey of Schalke O4 (Germany) are the seven players the former Chelsea Boss handed call ups to for the tournament.
Ghana will be looking to win the trophy this time after failing on numerous occasions and coming close to clinch the ultimate in 2015 but lost on penalties to eventual winners Cote d'Ivoire.
Ghana will be battling the Cranes of Uganda, the Pharaohs of Egypt and the Eagles of Mali in Group D.
Profile of the Players
Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars, Ghana)
The former Ghana U-20 goalkeeper earned his first Black Stars call-up for Ghana against Congo in 2015.
Ofori has since been a consistent member of the team under Grant but yet to be in post to exhibit his talent.
The Wa All Stars shot stopper, guided his side to win the 2015/16 Ghana Premier League for the first time and was adjudged the best goalie at the end of the season.
He ended the first round of the Ghana Premier League as the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets. The 23-year-old finished the first part of the season with 9 clean sheets in 12 matches conceding 5 goals at the end of the first round.
Ofori made 27 appearances for his club, conceded 14 goals, had 15 clean sheets and helped his side to win 15 games out of 30 at the end of the season.
Ofori remains focused and determined to reach the highest level in his career.
Samuel Tetteh (Leifering, Austria)
The former player of Ghana Premier League side West African Football Academy (WAFA) will be making his debut appearance at the continent's biggest football festival.
The 20-year old chap who was brilliant for his former club WAFA and was instrumental during Ghana’s appearance at the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Despite the Black Satellites having a poor tourney, Tetteh exhibited an outstanding performance in Ghana’s 4-2 win over Argentina.
Tetteh enjoyed playing for as many as 4 national teams before joining the Black Stars. He first played with the U-20 team, the Black Satellites, where he helped Ghana finished 3rd in the African Youth Championship in Senegal and qualified for the World Cup in New Zealand.
The in-form player then gained a call up to the Black Meteors team who participated in the All African Games in Congo Brazaville as well as the Black Stars B team who were knocked out by Ivory Coast in the CHAN qualifier in 2015.
He then joined Red Bull Salzburg from WAFA during the summer transfer window but was on- loan to the club’s youth side Leifering.
Tetteh who also plays as a forward for Leifering netted five (5) goals out of 13 matches before leaving the local scene.
Tetteh’s impressive form earned him a call-up to the Black Stars in November 2015, when Ghana played Comoros in a World Cup qualifier and has since been a part of Coach Grant’s squad.
He has so far scored 10 goals in 20 matches for his club and on September 3 last year, Tetteh scored his first international goal for Ghana at the senior level.
He is expected to add his pace, dribbling skills and hunger for success as Ghana take on Uganda in her first Group D match on January 17 at the Stade Port Gentil, Gabon.
Terkpetey is a 23-year old striker who plays for German Bundesliga side Shalke 04.
Terkpetey who played just two games for the Bundesliga side was handed a call up by the Ghana coach and will be playing his first major game for Ghana should he handed a role at the AFCON.
Tekpetey is a youth exponent from Schalke 04. He made his UEFA Europa League debut on 24 November 2016 against French Ligue 1 side OGC Nice.
Ebenezer Ofori plays as a holding midfielder for Swedish side AIK in the Allsvenskan.
He had his first national call up at the youth level in 2013 for the U20 side. He was a member of the team when Ghana qualified for the World Cup in Turkey following their 2nd place finish. Ofori again assisted the team to win bronze at the World Cup in Turkey.
He joined AIK from relegated Ghana Premier League side New Edubiase United after the 2013 World Cup and has since been an integral member of the team.
Ofori was voted the best midfielder in the Swedish Allsvenskan in 2015 and was a member of the Team of the Season in 2016, playing 23 matches and scoring 4 goals last season alone.
He earned his first call up in January 2017 when Avran Grant named him in his provisional Afcon squad and later confirmed him for the tournament.
Assifuah began his career with the Division One team Sekondi Eleven Wise where he attracted attention by scoring eight times.
At the end of the 2011-2012 Poly Tank Division One League, and after his success in the games of the 2013 African U-20 Championship qualification, Assifuah was highly sought after by top teams in Ghana including Ebusua Dwarfs. Assifuah signed a three-year contract with premiership side Liberty Professionals. Assifuah took some time to settle at Liberty Professionals after his move from Sekondi Eleven Wise. On the 2012 he rediscovered his form and scored four goals against Berekum Chelsea.
Prior to the end of the African Youth Championship, Assifuah had attracted the attention scouts of Italian Serie A side Udinese, and a move was deemed likely.
After being top goal scorer at the FIFA U-20 Championship 2013 in Turkey with 6 goals, he moved to the Swiss side FC Sion signing a 5-year contract. He scored his first goal in the Swiss Super League in his second game against leaders Basel on 28 September 2013.
Assifuah earned his first Black Stars call up in 2015 but made his first appearance for the side in a 0-0 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying tie with Mozambique on 27 May 2016.
Born in Odumase Krobo, Thomas was a product of local Odometah FC's youth ranks. He signed a contract with Atlético Madrid in 2011, and was subsequently moved to the reserves a year later. On 10 March 2013, Thomas was called up to the main squad for the match against Real Sociedad. However, he remained unused in the eventual 0–1 home defeat.
On 12 July, Thomas was loaned to RCD Mallorca, freshly relegated to the second level. On 18 August he made his professional debut, in a 0–4 away defeat against CE Sabadell FC. Thomas scored his first professional goal on 15 September, netting his side's second of a 2–2 draw at Hércules CF. He finished the campaign with 37 appearances (2972 minutes of action) and five goals, as the Balearic outfit narrowly avoided another drop.
On 27 July 2014 Thomas joined La Liga side UD Almería also in a temporary deal. He made his debut in the competition on 23 August, starting in a 1–1 home draw against RCD Espanyol. Thomas scored his first goals in the main category of Spanish football on 11 April 2015, netting a brace in a 3–0 home win against Granada CF.
He made his first team debut for Atleti on 28 November 2015, replacing Luciano Vietto in a 1–0 home win against Espanyol. On 2 January of the following year he scored his first league goal for the club, netting the game's only in a home success over Levante UD. On 28 May, Thomas played in the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, replacing Koke in the 116th minute as his side lost on penalties.
In May 2016, Partey was called up for the first time to the Ghana national team by manager Avram Grant, ahead of a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Mauritius. He made his debut on 5 June, replacing Frank Acheampong for the final 11 minutes of a 2–0 away win that booked the Black Stars' position in the finals.
Andrew Kyere "Andy" Yiadom (born 2 December 1991) plays for Championship club Barnsley. He can play as a full-back or winger.
He earned his first Black Stars call up in 2016 when Ghana played against Egypt in Alexandria in the 2018 World Cup qualifier but did not play.