Meet new faces in Black Stars

 Meet new faces in Black Stars

TARIQ LAMPTEY

 Many legends have had the chance to represent Ghana on various international soccer stages while donning the national shirt, raising the Ghana flag high.

Since the trailblazers, numerous Ghanaian footballers have established themselves as household names. This week, The Spectator focused on some of the fresh faces at the World Cup in Qatar.

MOHAMMED KUDUS

MOHAMMED KUDUS

Mohammed Kudus was born in Accra on August 2, 2000. He plays defence for Ajax of the Eredivisie. His UEFA Champions League start against Liverpool at home took a bad turn as he sustained a meniscus injury that sidelined him for several months.

He scored his first Champions League goal in a 4-0 victory over Rangers on September 7, 2022. He has been a member of the Ghana national team since 2019 and has contributed with multiple goals. His most memora­ble performance occurred in the 2022 FIFA World Cup match against South Korea, where he scored twice and helped his team to win a 3-2 victory.

KAMALDEEN SULEMANA

KAMALDEEN SULEMANA

Kamaldeen Sulemana was born on February 15, 2002 in Techiman. He is a Ghanaian professional football player who competes for both the Ghanaian national team and Ligue 1 club Rennes as a winger. Before joining FC Nords­jaelland, a Right to Dream cooperative club in Denmark, in January 2020, Kamaldeen was a student there. On his 18th birthday, he committed to a five-year contract with the team, and a week later, he made his club debut. Kamaldeen won the Superliga Player of the Month award for April 2021 af­ter tallying five goals in five games.

On September 25, 2020, in advance of the match against Mali, he received his first call-up to the Ghana national team.

IÑAKI WILLIAMS

IÑAKI WILLIAMS

Iñaki Williams was born on 15th June, 1994 in Bilbao, Spain. He plays as a forward for La Liga club Athletic Bilbao and the Ghana national team. Born to Ghanaian parents, Williams spent most of his childhood living in Pamplona. He was playing youth football with local CD Pamplona when he was spotted by Athletic Bilbao. He was therefore signed to their youth setup at the age of 18. Williams made his full debut for the Spanish national team in 2016. In 2022, he chose to represent Ghana at international lev­el, being selected for the 2022 World Cup.

His younger brother, Nico, is also a footballer and a forward; he too was brought up at Athletic Bilbao. He speaks Spanish, Akan, Basque and English.

TARIQ LAMPTEY

TARIQ LAMPTEY

Tariq Kwame Nii-Lante Lamptey was born to Ghanaian parents on 30th September 2000. He is a professional footballer who plays as a right wing-back or right-back for Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion and the Ghana national team. Previously a youth international for England, Lamptey switched allegiances to rep­resent Ghana at senior international level and made his debut in 2022.

After playing for the Chelsea Acad­emy, on 31st January, 2020, Lamptey signed for Premier League club Brigh­ton & Hove Albion on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

In May 2022, it was announced that Lamptey was considering switching allegiances to Ghana. He made his debut on 23rd September, 2022 com­ing on as a 72nd-minute substitute, replacing Denis Odoi in a 3–0 friendly loss against Brazil.

OSMAN BUKARI

OSMAN BUKARI

Osman Bukari born on 13th Decem­ber 1998, is a Ghanaian professional footballer who plays as a winger for Serbian club Red Star Belgrade and the Ghana national team. First European club in Osman Bukari’s professional career was Slovakian side AS Trenčin. He joined them in July 2018 from Accra Lions in his homeland. After his eye-catching performances in Slova­kia, Belgian side KAA Gent signed Bu­kari on 4th September, 2020. He made his club debut against Radnički Niš and got on the scoresheet in the same match. Bukari made his Ghana bow on 25th March, 2021 against South Africa in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match. He scored his first goal for Ghana in an AFCON qualifier against Madagascar and recently against Por­tugal in the ongoing World Cup.

MOHAMMED SALISU

MOHAMMED SALISU

Mohammed Salisu Abdul Karim (born on 17th April, 1999) is a Ghana­ian professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Southampton and the Ghana national team. Born in Kumasi, Salisu started his career at his local youth club Kumasi Barcelona Babies before joining West African Football Academy in 2013. In October 2017, he joined Real Valladolid’s youth setup. A year later, Salisu was pro­moted to the senior Valladolid squad. Salisu made his Southampton debut the following year, playing the full 90 minutes. Salisu made his debut for Ghana on 23rd September, 2022, as a second-half substitute in a 3–0 friendly defeat against Brazil. On 17th November, 2022, he scored his first goal in a friendly match against Swit­zerland, which Ghana won 2–0.

ALEXANDER DJIKU

ALEXANDER DJIKU

Alexander Kwabena Baidoo Djiku born on 9th August, 1994 is a pro­fessional footballer who plays as a defender for Ligue 1 club Strasbourg. Born in Montpellier, France, he rep­resents the Ghana national team. Djiku spent his youth career at Bastia. Djiku made his debut in a Coupe de la Ligue match against Évian in Decem­ber, 2013. Djiku is of Ghanaian and French descent. He debuted with the senior Ghana national team in a 3–0 friendly loss to Mali on 9th October 2020. Djiku’s third match came when he was given the opportunity by the Black Stars new head coach to start against Zimbabwe in a World Cup qualifier where Ghana won 3–1. He was part of Ghana’s team at the 2021 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon. Djiku is married to Heley Djiku. The couple have two children, Wesley and Elyana.

 By Yunusah Essandoh

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