By Oral Ofori and Samuel Kissiedu
For the first time in Ghanaian soccer history, 3 US-based Ghanaian players have been invited for national duty at different levels in what is regarded as a validation of American soccer quality. They are in the provisional squads of two Africa cup campaigns coming up in January and March 2014 respectively.
Houston Dynamo Black Stars defender Samuel Inkoom and Chicago Fire striker David Accam of the United States Major League Soccer (MLS) will vie for jerseys in the final squad to represent Ghana at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea to kick of from January 17 ? February 8, 2015. Young George Washington University soccer talent Koby Osei-Wusu also hunts for a place in the Ghana Black Satellites final squad for the African Under 20 Championship in Senegal which kicks off March 8?22, 2015.
While Accam is already in Ghana, Inkoom and Koby are expected to join him soon with a cargo of optimism about US soccer.
Inkoom particularly has a New Year message for Ghanaians: “I hope this historic call by Ghana soccer authorities of Ghanaian players in the MLS to respective national teams disabuses the minds of some Ghanaians who have for sometime not respected the growing calibre and quality of American Soccer. Even Steven Gerrard of Liverpool finds the MLS attractive as he is rumored to be considering a club here” he said.
In September, Inkoom became a Ghanaian soccer ambassador in America when he moved from European club Platanias on a free transfer to join DC United. Late last year on December 8, 2013, he was on the move again as he was traded to Houston Dynamo where he hopes to continue to be an envoy of Ghana soccer.
After the stint with DC United, Inkoom says he can authoritatively report back home to Ghanaians that they have all along carried an erroneous impression about the quality of the American league and said “it is about time we dropped the low esteem people have tagged the MLS with because Yankee soccer is really coming of age”.
“The quality of the league has vastly improved over the years. Today the MLS attracts experienced players from all over the world who are ready to explore new soccer frontiers like myself and live their American soccer dream in the process. We can’t continue to think it was by chance that the United States Mens National Team (USMNT) beat their Ghana counterparts — the Black Stars — in the last FIFA World Cup in Brazil”. Inkoom went on to say that “the MLS and USMNT are now a force to be reckoned with”.
Ever since he moved to the MLS, he has been joined by two other Ghana national team colleagues; short stopper Adam Kwarasey who moved from Norwegian side Stromsgodset to MLS side Portland Timbers and striker David Accam from Swedish side Helsingborg.
The defender who is happy to get a call up to the national team after a brief break believes “It is always great to get a chance to serve Ghana and I will not disappoint the trust reposed in me by Ghana’s new soccer coach Avram Grant” stated Inkoom who made his debut for the national team in 2008 after rising through the juvenile ranks.
On expectations at the Africa Cup, he stated that pressure is on the team to compensate for the unfortunate World Cup fiasco of Brazil 2014 and called for “total focus because the world is now watching us so this will be a golden opportunity for us to redeem our image by doing our best to erase the disappointment in Brazil, please our fans and restore our pride” said 25 year old Inkoom.
Besides these young Ghanaians hoping to grace the African Championship with their presence, 2 other African players plying their trade in the MLS will also make history in the prestigious African soccer championship by giving it a North American feel. They are Goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi of Algeria and defender Ambroise Oyongo of Cameroon who play for MLS sides Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls respectively.