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Five Black Stars players included in U-23 squad for AFCON

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Fatawu Issahaku, Kamaldeen Sulemana and Mohammed Kudus

Ibrahim Tanko named a 29-man provisional squad on Thursday as the Black Meteors enter the final round of preparations for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations.

The list includes five players who have links with the Black Stars, namely goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad, Daniel Afriyie Barnieh, Kamaldeen Sulemana, Ernest Nuamah, and Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer. All five have represented the senior national team in at least one match, which provides a boost to the youth team ahead of the tournament in Morocco.

Mohammed Kudus, who will turn 23 in August, is ineligible and therefore has not been included in the squad.

Tanko’s list is dominated by local players, and interestingly, none of them currently play for Hearts of Oak. Danlad Ibrahim is Kotoko’s lone representative.

Black Meteors began their preparations for the tournament last month, with the local players camping in Pampram. However, the provisional squad will embark on a two-week camping period in Egypt, departing from Ghana on Monday.

The U-23 tournament holds great importance for Ghanaians, as it now serves as the qualification route to the Olympic Games following CAF’s decision. Ghana were the first African side to win an Olympic medal in men’s football, securing bronze in Barcelona in 1992.

However, they have fallen short of Olympic qualification since 2004 when Stephen Appiah and his teammates performed admirably in Athens.

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