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KP Boateng and 10 Europe-born players who switched nationality to play for Black Stars

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But this is not the first time players who were born in Europe have switched nationality to play for the Black Stars.

In the past, we’ve had footballers cross carpets to choose Ghana and many of them have gone to represent the country at various tournaments.

Here, Pulse Sports brings you a list of 11 Europe-born players who switched nationality to play for Ghana:

Kevin-Prince Boateng was born in Germany and represented the European nation at youth level but switched nationality to play for Ghana in 2010.

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The playmaker has a Ghanaian father and that made him eligible to represent the West African country. In his time with Ghana, Boateng played at two World Cup tournaments (2010 and 2014), before he was axed from the national team on disciplinary grounds.

Quincy Owusu-Abeyie was a toast of Ghanaian football fans when the country hosted the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Despite being born in Amsterdam and playing for the Netherlands’ U21s, Owusu-Abeyie became a Ghana international in 2008.

He played 17 matches and scored two goals, and was also part of the Ghana team that played at the 2010 World Cup.
These days Anthony Baffoe is involved in catering for the futures of Ghanaian footballers as president of PFAG, but the story has not always been like this.

The former defender was born in Germany and in another world he could have represented the European nation, having been a fan favourite at FC Koln.

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Baffoe was one of the foremost recognised black players in the Bundesliga and was capped 25 times by Ghana, while playing in two AFCONs. England-born Tariq Lamptey is one of the latest high-profile players to have switched nationality to play for Ghana.

The Brighton and Hove Albion right-back comes with immense quality and is widely regarded as one of the most exciting full-backs in the Premier League.

Lamptey has Ghanaian roots and, even before choosing Ghana, had been visiting the country of his father to do some donations to charity. He is expected to play at the 2022 World Cup.

Inaki Williams is another of Ghana’s latest recruits. The Athletic Bilbao star had earlier said that he didn’t feel Ghanaian but made a U-turn in June.

Williams has Ghanaian parents, who emigrated to Spain over two decades ago, and he will be one of Ghana’s players to watch out for at the 2022 World Cup.

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Emmanuel Gyasi was born in Italy and for many years he called the city of Palermo his home. The Spezia forward, however, switched to Ghana in 2021.

Gyasi played in an AFCON qualifier against South Africa in March 2021, although he hasn’t been a regular fixture in the Black Stars since.
Denis Odoi was unknown to many before he played in Ghana’s crucial World Cup playoff game against Nigeria.

The Belgium-born defender played once for the Red Devils before switching nationality and even at 34, he looks like a man who has a lot to offer Ghana in the short term.

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Alexander Djiku was born in France, in Montpellier to be precise, and even started his professional career with French side Bastia.

The centre-back received his first Ghana call-up in 2020 and has since been a key player for the Black Stars. Djiku is expected to be a starter in Qatar later this year despite the availability of Mohammed Salisu.

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Joseph ‘Jojo’ Wollacott’s rise has been that of the underdog story. Born in England and having played in the lower leagues all his life, the goalkeeper was invited to the Black Stars while playing for League Two side Swindon Town.

However, he proved himself and is currently the first-choice shot-stopper for Ghana.

For a brief period, Emmanuel Frimpong was a Ghana international. The midfielder, who was born in England and rose through the ranks at Arsenal, made his international debut in 2013.

However, he was blighted by niggling injuries which led to his retirement at the age of 27. Frimpong played just once for Ghana.

Antoine Semenyo is one of the new guards joining the Black Stars. The Bristol City striker was born in Chelsea, England but switched to Ghana earlier in 2022.

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Semenyo debuted for the Black Stars in a 3-0 AFCON qualifier against Madagascar.

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NFF promises Eagles coach Finidi house, car after unveiling

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President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ibrahim Gusau, has assured that newly appointed Super Eagles coach, Finidi George, will be provided with a house in the area of his choice and a driver to ensure smooth operation of his job, Theheute reports.

Gusau made these promises during the official unveiling of Finidi as Eagles coach on Monday where his assistants were also revealed.

After serving as an assistant to Portuguese coach, Jose Peseiro, Finidi was appointed as the substantive coach of the Eagles last month, beating the likes of Emmanuel Amuneke, U.S. men’s U-19 coach Michael Nsien, among other candidates to the job.

The 56-year-old will work with ex-international Daniel Amokachi and Benjamin James as assistants, Olatunji Baruwa as goalkeepers’ trainer, while Chima Onyeike will serve as fitness trainer and Turk Mehmet Ozturk as match analyst.

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Speaking at the brief ceremony in Abuja, Gusau said Finidi would be provided with a house and a driver while assuring that his salaries would be paid regularly.

“We want to avoid any issues of having conflicts in the area of paying coaches, for the coach we are going to arrange how we will be paying on a monthly basis but for every other assistant, we are engaging them on an invitational basis,” he said.

“We are going to engage them on an invitational basis, once we invite them for a match, qualifiers, or tournament; we give them whatever they are entitled to, including other allowances that the team is entitled to. Whatever the team is entitled to at any point in time, that is what the assistant coaches are entitled to and we will also agree on certain amounts that we are going to agree on to pay them whenever they come for matches or tournaments. We just want to avoid issues of having a crisis in the payment of salaries.

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“I want to assure Nigerians that we will do our best to make sure we support Finidi and give him whatever he needs to work and his salary will not be a problem because we will do our best to support him.

“Right now, as part of his contract, we must get him a comfortable house where he will stay in Nigeria which is in process and we will give him the privilege to agree on where he wants it, we will provide him transportation, he has a car already and we will provide him a driver. We just want Nigerians to support us in prayer.”

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The first task ahead of the former Ajax man is the World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin Republic next month.

With his first real test less than a month away, the ex-international says his target is to qualify the Eagles for the 2026 World Cup.

“If you get to see my contract, it’s boldly written there what the NFF wants. But personally, my first target is to reach the 2026 World Cup and AFCON qualifiers will be coming up soon. But the major one are these two games we have which are against South Africa and Benin Republic. From there we will set the tone and take it from there,” Finidi said.

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Nigerians fight for MMA World Championship spots

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Amateur fighters are jostling for the available slots as Nigeria continues to prepare their contingent with the maiden Mixed Martial Arts National Amateur Championship which will be used to select the country’s team for the 2024 MMA World Championship 2024 in Jakarta, Indonesia by December.

The series saw fighters from the northwest and central zones of the country in action at the Abuja Continental Hotel last weekend for places in the grand finale.

The tournament organised by Boxing & MMA Hall of Fame, the official representative of the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts featured MMA fighters from Kwara, Kogi, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue states and the FCT Abuja.

In some of the bouts decided in the women’s division, Beauty Akatiku of Nasarawa beat her state counterpart Zubair Fatimoh in the 56Kg, while Felix Stephanie of Plateau also defeated Yusrallah Abdulraheem of Kaduna in the 65kg.

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In the men’s fights, Tarkpe Stephen of Benue was ahead of Uthman Ahmed of Kwara in 60kg, Aliyu Taofeeq of Kogi outscored Abdulazeez Abdulrahman of Abuja in 77kg, Ovye Charles of Nasarawa defeated Momoh Itopa of Abuja in the 66kg and David Ezekiel of Abuja was ahead of Joseph Jackson of Nasarawa in the 70kg.

As part of the program, the organisers hosted the first open national referees and judges seminar and certification program which was managed by GAMMA Nigeria international judges and referees, who attended and officiated at the 13th African Games in Ghana.

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The free programme resulted in the certification of seven new officials as MMA Judge – National LEVEL C and one official as MMA Referee – National Level C.

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Official! Mbappe to leave PSG at end of season

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Kylian Mbappe confirmed on Friday that he will leave French champions Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, with Real Madrid expected to be his next destination.

“I wanted to announce to you all that it’s my last year at Paris Saint-Germain. I will not extend and the adventure will come to an end in a few weeks,” Mbappe said in a video posted on social media.

“I will play my last game at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.”

PSG have already secured the Ligue 1 title, their 10th in the last 12 seasons, and will pick up the trophy after Sunday’s game against Toulouse, which will be their last of the campaign on home turf.

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Luis Enrique’s side were eliminated from the Champions League this week by Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals, a 1-0 loss in Tuesday’s second leg at home sealing a surprise 2-0 aggregate defeat.

It means Mbappe will not get the send-off he had hoped for in the Champions League final at Wembley on June 1 and will end his seven-year spell at PSG without ever having won Europe’s elite club competition.

Mbappe informed PSG privately in February of his intention to depart when his contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

The 25-year-old has never said as much publicly, though, far less confirmed where he will be going next, but it appears certain that he is bound for Real Madrid.

“It’s a lot of emotions, many years where I had the chance and the great honour to be a member of the biggest French club, one of the best in the world,” said Mbappe.

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“It allowed me to arrive here, to have my first experience in a club with a lot of pressure, to grow as a player of course, by being alongside some of the best in history, some of the greatest champions,” he added.

“It’s hard and I never thought it would be this difficult to announce that… but I think I needed this, a new challenge, after seven years.”

Mbappe did not find the net in either leg of the Dortmund tie but has scored 43 goals in all competitions this season, with 26 of those coming in Ligue 1.

He will still hope to add to his club-record tally of 255 goals for PSG and win another medal in the French Cup final — Mbappe has so far won six Ligue 1 titles, three French Cups and the now defunct League Cup twice in his seven years at his hometown team.

After Sunday’s game, PSG will complete their league campaign with away matches at Nice and at relegation-threatened Metz, before Mbappe wraps up his career with the club in that Cup final in Lille.

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