AFCON 2023: Fatawu Issahaku, Baba Rahman opt out of Black Stars squad for tournament

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Abdul Baba Rahman and Abdul Fatawu Issahaku will not be joining the Black Stars team for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be staged in Ivory Coast.

This comes on the back of discussions between the two players and the head coach of the team, Chris Hughton, ahead of the commencement of the competition.

Fatawu Issahaku and Baba Rahman have both been in a rich vein of forms for Leicester City and PAOK this season and looked set to star for the national team in Ivory Coast.

However, the pair have decided to opt out of the competition to continue their development at their respective clubs.

Hughton announced his final squad for the competition on Monday, January 1, with the team expected to commence camping in Kumasi immediately.

Speaking about the exclusion of Issahaku, the Irish trainer said, “When I put this squad together, what I was adamant about was that this was going to be a balanced squad.”

“There is a method and a very big thought process that has been developed on every player that we have picked and every position that we have thought about.

“We have potential seven players that can play on the right or are playing on the right. [Leaving Fatawu out] was a difficult situation but I have to make these difficult decisions for what I believe are the correct reasons,”

Rahman, who has 50 appearances for the Black Stars, has been a regular at all major tournaments since 2015 and was also included in the provisional squad for this competition.

The left-back has not been called up for national assignment since the AFCON qualifier against Central Africa Republic in September.

Issahaku is enjoying a good spell of form since his decision to move to Europe in 2022.

The 19-year-old has registered nine goal involvements in 15 starts in the English Championship since arriving on loan in the summer.

He has scored twice and provided seven assists in that run.

The Black Stars are pitched in Group B for the AFCON alongside Egypt, Cape Verde and Mozambique.

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