2023 U-23 AFCON: Ibrahim Tanko provides update on Black Stars trio and Kwadwo Opoku

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Head Coach of the Black Meteors Ibrahim Tanko has confirmed that Kamaldeen Sulemana and Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer will not be joining the Black Meteors for the TotalEnergies U23 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), while Ernest Nuamah is expected to team up with the rest of the team in Morocco.

Kamaldeen Sulemana, Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer and Ernest Nuamah are part of a 29-man preliminary squad named by Ibrahim Tanko for a training tour in Cairo, Egypt which commenced on Monday, June 12 and ended on Wednesday, June 21.

Kamaldeen, Ransford Yeboah and Ernest Nuamah were excused for the camping due to their involvement with the Black Stars for 2023 AFCON qualifier against Madagascar in Antananarivo which was played on Sunday and ended 0-0.

The trio were expected to team up with the rest of the Black Meteors team in Morocco for the AFCON. However, Ibrahim Tanko has confirmed that Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer and Kamaldeen Sulemana will not join the team, while Ernest Nuamah is expected to team up with the rest of the team in Morocco.

“For now I understand Ernest Nuamah is going to join us. The rest will not be able to join so we only have to concentrate on those who are here. We already know Ernest and we’ve played with him during the qualifiers so know he is coming to add some quality to the team,” Ibrahim Tanko said as quoted by Ghanafa.org.

“The others were not with us during the qualifiers but we felt they had qualities that could help the team since they are not here we will concentrate on those we played the qualifiers with. We are 100 percent sure that the quality is enough. Let’s hope that we will have all players fit for the tournament.”

Ibrahim Tanko also divulged that Kwadwo Opoku Mahala of Los Angeles who’s part of the 29-man squad will also not be able to honor the call-up.

“For now he is not joining because his team didn’t agree to release him for this tournament. This tournament does not fall within the FIFA international dates so we cannot force the team to release him. For now we know he is not coming and we are focused on the players who are here and we know they can do the job for us,” said Ibrahim Tanko.

Meanwhile, the Black Meteors landed in Morocco earlier today for the U-23 AFCON, where they’ll face Congo, Morocco and Guinea in the group stages.

Ghana will kickoff their campaign against Congo on Saturday, June 24, before playing Morocco on Tuesday, June 27 and then Guinea on Friday, June 30.

Two best teams from Group A and B will advance to the semifinals stage of the competition. 

Winner of the tournament and the two runner ups will qualify to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games Men’s Soccer competition in Paris next year, while the 4th-placed team will play against a team from Asia in a playoffs to decide the final slot at the Olympics.

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