Sports News of Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Source: GHANAsoccernet.com

Ghana loses hugely talented striker Mohammed Muntari to Qatar

Ghana has suffered a major blow in its footballing future after losing one of its hugely talented strikers to Qatar, following the naming of Mohammed Muntari in the 23-man squad for the Asian Cup.

The teenage striker, who is a product of the GloLamp Football Academy owned by former Ghana international Nii Odartey Lamptey, has been coerced into playing for the rich Arab state.

Muntari, who moved to Qatar from Nii Lamptey’s academy to join Qatari side Al Jaish just two years ago, is one of the brightest talents Ghana can boast of in recent times with his blistering pace and high scoring rate.

However, the coaches of the youth teams in Ghana failed to follow his progress which resulted in Qatar's swoop to cap him for their national team which means another talent lost to Ghana.

Qatar left experienced striker Sebastian Soria out of their 23-man squad for next month’s Asian Cup with the Gulf Cup winners instead opting for uncapped Ghanaian youngster Muntari.

Soria won his 100th cap for Qatar in October and marked the milestone by scoring in a 3-0 success over fellow Asian Cup finalists Uzbekistan, but it was not enough to make the squad for the Gulf Cup tournament the following month.

The 31-year-old has continued to score goals for Qatar Stars League champions Lekhwiya but national team head coach Djamel Belmadi opted against a recall when he named his travelling party for the Jan 9-31 tournament in Australia.

The Algerian instead went for the 21-year-old Muntari, who has been in a rich vein of form for his club side in recent weeks.

The duo joined Asian Player of the Year nominee Khalfan Ibrahim in the squad after the Al Sadd playmaker was recalled after he missed the Gulf Cup because of injury.

Qatar has been drawn in an all West Asian Group C in Australia alongside Bahrain, Iran and United Arab Emirates.

The Maroons face final warm-up matches against Estonia and Oman next week before they kick-off their campaign in Canberra on January 11 against the UAE.

The 2022 World Cup hosts staged the Asian Cup four years ago, matching their tournament best showing of a quarterfinal berth in 2000.

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Saad Al Sheeb (Al Sadd), Ahmed Sufyan (El Jaish), Qasem Burhan (Al Gharafa)

Defenders: Ahmadi Ali Mukhtar (Al Sadd), Abdelkarim Hassan (Al Sadd), Ibrahim Majid (Al Sadd), Mohammed Musa (Lekhwiya), Khalid Muftah (Lekhwiya), Abdulrahman Issa (El Jaish), Bilal Mohammed (Al Gharafa)

Midfielders: Khalfan Ibrahim (Al Sadd), Ali Assadalla (Al Sadd), Karim Boudiaf (Lekhwiya), Mohammed Muntari (El Jaish), Majed Mohammed (El Jaish), Khaled Al Zereiqi (El Jaish), Boualem Khoukhi (Al Arabi), Abdulaziz Hatem (Al Arabi), Ahmed Abdul Maqsood (Umm Salal)

Forwards: Hassan Al Haidos (Al Sadd), Ismaeel Mohammad (Lekhwiya), Mohammed Tresor Abdullah (Lekhwiya), Meshal Abdullah (Al Ahli)