Ghanaians embraced the list for the Black Stars ahead of the 2018 AFCON qualifier with Ethiopia but not without shocks and surprises. As many were surprised that Udinese defender Nicholas Opoku, who has been consistent in the last four games for the Serie A side missed out, others were shocked that Joseph Paintsil failed to catch the attention of Kwasi Appiah.

The shocking aspect of Nicholas Opoku’s absence from the list is that the player had regular call ups and played for Ghana when he was a bench warmer for his side but has been axed at a time he’s been a regular starter.

There is the school of thought that keeps saying the coach must be allowed to invite the materials he thinks he can work with, and that I agree with. But when the coach himself opines that he is building a new team and will invite any Ghanaian footballer who is in top form, we must also hold him by those words.

It still remains astonishing why Jordan Ayew was not handed a call up when he was on fire, firing from all cylinders but has been called into the team at a time he even struggles to find playing time. Shocking!

Jordan won Swansea City player of the year, goal of the year and top goal scorer last season when he hit top form between August 2017 and April 2018 but he had no call-up at that time. He’s been handed a call up now that he’s struggled to find his feet with Crystal Palace, not even hitting the woodwork in 7 games. Isn’t it shocking?

Based on performance, work output and current form, the following players shouldn’t have escaped Kwasi Appiah’s goggles.

Joseph Paintsil

Paintsil, 20, has not only hit top form in recent times but has been one of the most consistent Ghanaian players on Europe.

He’s one player whose absence from the Black Stars B ahead of their left Maxwell Konadu with a severe headache prior to the CAHN qualifiers.

Paintsil has been one of the most in-form players for Belgium giants Genk, guiding them to the top of the Jupiler League table. He’s been in action for the league leaders, scoring twice in his ten outings so far.

Paitnsil extended his consistent play from Ferencvaros, where he scored 10 times in 25 games, to the Belgium side. He’s currently the heart of the team, providing priceless assists for his side to bang in the goals. It remains shocking as to why Kwasi Appiah turned a blind eye to the wonderful outing of the intelligent midfielder who loves to attack from the flanks.

Isaac Donkor

Donkor, is currently the most consistent Ghanaian defender in Europe after swiftly fitting in excellently for Universitatea Craiova in the Romania Liga 1.

Donkor, 23, has stupendously pushed Craiova to 3rd spot on the Liga 1 table with just 4 points separating them from leaders CFR Cluj. Donkor has seen all action this season for the side after joining from Italian Serie A side Cesena.

The former Inter Milan youth skipper has been overly instrumental for Craiova, ensuring they are the second strongest defence in the league with just 11 goals in 14 games.

Donkor’s instrumentality and phenomenal display made him the surest bet for Kwasi Appiah following the injury of Daniel Amartey with Rashid Sumaila yet to cement a position in the Red Star Belgrade side.

Solomon Asante

Not much can be said about Solomon Asante to justify why he deserves a Black Stars call up. He’s been wonderfully superb for Phoenix Rising in the USL, guiding them to the title a few days ago.

Solomon, 28, is the heart beat of the Didier Drogba-led side scoring 14 goals in 34 games. The former TP Mazembe winger has emerged as the only player in the Phoenix Rising side with the most MVP awards as well as assists.

If there are only two players whose current forms are not in doubt, then it’s Solomon and the others. It remains amazing as to why Kwasi Appiah’s net failed to grab him.

Joachim Adukor

Not many know him but he’s been the flagbearer of Ghana in Bosnia and Herzegovina following his magnificent show for Sarajevo in the BH Premija Liga.

As the engine of leaders Sarajevo, Adukor has guided his side to the summit of the league after 16 games. The 25-year old central defender is rated one of the best midfielders in the BH Premija Liga with his excellent passing technique and workaholic posture.

Having been consistent for Sarajevo and showing excellent work rate, Adukor has justified why he must earn a Black Stars call-up if, and only if, the call ups are based on current form and recent performance.

He’s strong both on the ground and in aerial situations, powerful with drives and has got a brilliant scoring ability with the head during set pieces. Hardly does he lose the ball when in control and his off-the-ball positioning is just awesome. Perhaps, Kwasi Appiah must tilt his monitoring telescope towards BH as Adukor keeps making Ghana proud there.

Enock Kwarteng

One of the positions in the Black Stars that has experimented on several occasions is the right back position. Following the absence of Harrison Afful, before his recall, Kwasi Appiah has been left with a headache as to who must grow into it.

Andy Yiadom has shown great promise of walking into the shoes of Afful. One player who has been tipped to give Andy a great competition for the role is Nantes right back Enock Kwateng.

Enock is just 21 and has so far played for all the youth sides of France – from U16 to U20. An inch away from playing for The Blues. His outing this season for Nantes has been phenomenal and greatly remarkable.

He’s been consistent for the Ligue 1 side this season, playing all games in all competitions. With an appreciable height of 183cm, Enoch combines attacking and defending of the modern-day right back and offers Kwasi Appiah options in that position.

With Harrison Afful ageing, the surest replacement should be Enock. But Ghana will have to approach him first to know his readiness to play as he is working his way into the France national team.

By Sheikh Tophic Sienu