U23 AFCON: My players are ready to deliver – Ghana coach Tanko

Ghana coach Ibrahim Tanko has lauded his players’ commitment ahead of their opening game of the Africa U23 Cup of Nations against Cameroon on Friday.

The Black Meteors are set to face the Indomitable Lions in the Group A fixture at Cairo International Stadium, the match set to be the former’s first-ever game in the history of the tournament.

Matches against hosts Egypt and Mali on November 11 and 14 respectively will conclude Ghana’s historic group stage adventure.

“I am very confident that the team will be 100 per cent ready for Friday’s opening match against Cameroon and subsequent matches,” Tanko told Ghana FA’s communication team.

“The players are ready to deliver and are really committed to making the nation proud.

“I hope the players continue like this so that on Friday we will have a very good game.

“We know what we will encounter on Friday. We’re ready for the game.”

Ghana’s original list of 11 foreign-based players targeted for the tournament included Mainz 05 attacker on loan at FC Utrecht, Issah Abass.

Upon the naming of the final 23-man squad, the Black Meteors’ list had no place for the 21-year-old. His Dutch club has refused to grant his release for the tournament – a competition outside the Fifa international calendar. In his stead, USA-based Ropapa Mensah was listed.

Interestingly, however, Abass has surfaced in the team’s camp in Egypt while Mensah continues his stay in the States.

“We were expecting Ropapa to join the squad but we were advised by his club side that he has suffered an injury which would require that he sits out for some time before he can return to full action. Thus, we had to replace him in the squad,” Tanko explained.

“We are glad that Utrecht finally accepted to release Abass for the tournament after the club initially turned us down.”

The three top nations at the end of the tournament will also be rewarded with tickets to represent Africa at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

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