Ghana are losing out on Anderlecht starlet Jeremy Doku after the attacker made his first competitive senior appearance for the Red Devils on Saturday.
The winger’s 88th-minute substitute appearance in the European Nations League clash with Belgium has rendered the teenager cap-tied, thereby becoming attached to Roberto Martinez’s side. Currently, he is not eligible to represent Ghana unless Fifa changes their rules in future.
The game ended 2-0 in favour of the 2018 World Cup bronze-medallists, who had Jason Denayer and Dries Mertens to thank for scoring to seal three points in their group opener.
“Proud moment for me to represent my country. The start of a journey at Belgium Red Devils,” the winger posted on social media after the match.
Born to Ghanaian parents in Belgium, the 18-year-old was eligible to switch international allegiance to Ghana despite representing the country of his birth at various youth stages.
He received his first senior call-up for the September double-header against Belgium and Iceland after a string of fine performances at national youth stage and club level for Anderlecht.
On Saturday, he came on for Youri Tielemans in what will remain a landmark appearance in his career.
In March, Ghana coach CK Akonnor listed Doku among seven European-born players being courted for a switch of international allegiance to Ghana after a February meeting with the player.
Doku’s Anderlecht teammate Francis Amuzu, currently with the Belgium U21 side, Dutch-born centre-back Derrick Luckassen, also presently with Anderlecht, Ajax prodigy Brian Brobbey and the France-born trio of Enock Kwateng, Elisha Owusu and Alexander Djiku make up the roster.
More recently, Ghana have added England U21 duo Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal) and Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion) to their list of targets.
The world football governing body, Fifa has proposed amendments to the current rules governing eligibility, with the new guidelines set for approval at a September 18 Congress.
Should the new rule be passed successfully, Doku will become eligible to represent Ghana once again as the proposed regulations will allow nationality switches for players who have played a maximum of three games, including tournament qualifiers for one nation before they turned 21, and at least three years earlier.
Chelsea winger Callum Hudson Odoi, who currently has three senior caps for England at senior level, could benefit from the proposed rule should it come into force and the player be willing to look to Ghana, having fallen down The Three Lions pecking order in recent times.