Fatawu Issahaku, Baba Rahman opt out of Black Stars squad

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Issahaku Rahman

Abdul Baba Rahman and Abdul Fatawu Issahaku have been excluded from Black Stars squad for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be staged in Ivory Coast.

The pair have been left out of the final 27-man squad for the tournament which was confirmed by Chris Hughton, who is the head coach of the team.

Before the announcement of the final squad, discussions were held between the two players and the head coach.

Fatawu Issahaku and Baba Rahman have both been on good form for their respective clubs but the pair have decided to opt out of the competition to continue their development at their respective clubs.

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 will open camp on Tuesday, January 2 in Kumasi and will take on Namibia in a friendly game as part of the team’s preparations ahead of the tournament in Ivory Coast.

The Black Stars will also leave the shores of the country on January 10 for the tournament that has been slated to kick off from January 13 to Febryary 11.

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

The Black Stars of Ghana will first come up against Cape Verde at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on January 14, 2024, then face Egypt at the same venue four days later and then Mozambique at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium on January 22, 2024.

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