I have no idea who you would love included in your ideal Black Stars squad, but what I know for a certain is that there are so many footballers of Ghanaian descent that if we had succeeded in poaching, might have helped us to achieve something.
Over the years, the country has been on the receiving end of rejection by players with Ghanaian roots, including some world class stars. The list below consists of current top stars who refused to play for Ghana.
Mario Balotelli (Italy)
Born in 1990 to Ghanaian immigrants in Palermo, Italy, as Mario Barwuah but declined to play for the national team. The controversial striker was courted to play for the senior national team but instead, waited for a call-up to the Italian national team which eventually came in the year, 2010 against the Ivory Coast.
There is no doubt that Balotelli is a huge talent and would have offered the Black Stars, a very lethal striking option. However, have you ever thought of how we would have managed him? Balotelli is never far from controversy, and even under some of the best and most stringent coaches, the player has always been a difficult character to handle.
Jerome Boateng (Germany)
Jerome, the junior brother of Eintracht Frankfurt, and Ghanaian star Kevin Prince Boateng, was born to a Ghanaian father and a German mother in Berlin.
Unlike his elder brother, Jerome decided to play for Germany despite efforts by the Ghana FA to have him switch to Ghana.
Currently regarded as one of the best defenders in the world today, the Bayern Munich central defender remains one of the greatest loss to the country. He would have, in no doubt, provided more stability in the current Black Stars defence.
Memphis Depay (The Netherlands)
The Olympic Lyon attacker was born to a Ghanaian father, Dennis Depay and a Dutch mother. Depay however rejected calls by the Ghana FA to play for the Black Stars. On a personal basis, Depay resents being Ghanaian and his father as well, who he says, abandoned him at age four.
After a disappointing spell with Manchester United, Depay is getting back to his best since joining the French club in 2016.
The 23-year-old winger still has many years ahead of him to be able to rediscover the form that convinced United to buy him, and possibly reach his potential as top class player.
Danny Welbeck (England)
Born as Daniel Nii Tackie Mensah to Ghanaian parents in the United Kingdom, the Arsenal striker was once wooed to play for the Black Stars but he chose England over Ghana.
Ironically, Welbeck made his senior England debut in March 2011, in a 1–1 friendly draw against Ghana, the homeland of his parents.
With Asamoah Gyan nearing retirement, Welbeck would have offered the Black Stars a lethal presence in front of goal.
Alexander Tettey (Norway)
Tettey was born in Accra, Ghana, but moved to Bodø in Norway in 1999. He later moved to Trondheim, and started to play football for Kolstad.
After joining Rosenborg’s youth system, Tettey made his debut for the first team in a friendly match against GIF Sundsvall in January 2003, and in September 2003 he joined the first team squad and became the youngest player in Rosenborg’s first team squad since 1977.
The Norwich City midfielder is now a naturalised Norwegian, and has been capped 34 times for the Norwegian national team, making his first appearance in a 2–1 win against Argentina on 22 August, 2007
Karim Bellarabi (Germany)
Bellarabi, maybe relatively unknown to Ghanaians, is the son of a German mother and a Moroccan father, but also has a Ghanaian step-father, making him eligible to play for the Black Stars as well. The Ghana FA made the approach to have him play for the Black Stars which yielded no results.
Bellarabi instead, who cuurently plays for Bayer Leverkusen, opted to play for Germany, making his senior international debut for German national team in 2014 in a 2–0 UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier defeat away to Poland.
If all these players had opted to play for the country, perhaps we might have won a trophy or two in the process. While it is entirely the players’ personal decision not to play for the country, I am of the opinion that if the Ghana Football Association had been more subtle and proactive in their approach, most of these names would have switched their nationality to Ghana.
We cannot to continue to reap where we have not sown! There is the need to develop a comprehensive youth development plan to prevent the country’s football from reaching an all-time nadir.
This plan should also include scouting for young players with Ghanaian heritage and taking genuine concern in their development so as to merit the right to invite them to don the national colours. Maybe, when this is done the rancour of being jilted will end.