CK Akonnor

Black Stars coach Charles Akonnor has promised to reward local players with call-ups if they demonstrate top-level performance consistently.

According to Akonnor, he has noticed that the local players are unable to produce their best for three consecutive games and that is a worry for him as he intends to give them the chance to feature in the national team.

Akonnor was appointed in January, replacing Kwesi Appiah who had been in charge for two and half years. In his first squad announcement, he included four Ghana Premier League players.

He invited Aduana Stars striker Yahaya Mohammed, Hearts of Oak goalkeeper Richard Attah, Ashanti Gold full-back Kwadwo Amoako and Habib Mohammed who plays as a centreback for Asante Kotoko.

“It is up to the locals [local players] honestly. We will give them a chance, we will encourage them. Even I had plans before we assembled the team. I have a psychologist to talk to them before they join the camp and so the challenge is up to them,” Akonnor told GFA’s media team.

“I would like to give the chance to the locals more. When I started playing [for Black Stars], the likes of Frimpong Manso, Armah Senegal and Salifu Ansah the goalkeeper, they were senior guys.

“We had a majority of locals in the team. I started playing as a local player before I travelled abroad. It has changed and I think it is up to us to try as much as we can to improve that area because there is a big gap.”

“The locals, when you see them with the professionals there is a big gap and that is up to them. Of course, once we see a player doing well, I will give him that chance and they should also believe that they are coming to play, not even to be on the bench. They should believe that and that will show automatically in training. These are the things that they will have to do and that comes from the individual.”

“Yes we have seen them, we have invited them. I am not going to close my eyes on them once they are there and they are doing well. We have somebody like [Justice] Blay. He looks active. When he is playing he looks hungry. I like people who are hungry and want to be successful.”

“My research tells me in Ghana [that] no player has been able to play three matches on the top [in top form]. Three, four [matches], it is a challenge. They need to be consistent with their performance and they will automatically get in there,” he concluded.

The squad he named was for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations double-header qualifiers against Sudan last month. The games were called off by CAF due to the spread of novel coronavirus pandemic.