Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey is also a target for the Black Stars but the GFA official claims media reports are making it difficult
Ghana Football Association (GFA) Executive Council member George Amoakoh believes reports about the use of black magic, popularly known as ‘juju’, is hampering efforts to woo Ghanaian players in the diaspora to represent the Black Stars.
New coach of the four-time African champions, CK Akonnor, has set his sights on broadening the national talent pool with players of Ghanaian descent abroad, having identified Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah and Brighton and Hove Albion defender Tariq Lamptey among a list of targets.
The West Africans have ailed to lift a trophy since 1982, and have been rejected by most Ghanaian players abroad when asked to switch their nationality.
“There are a lot of perceptions about how Ghanaian footballers play the game,” Amoakoh told Nhyira FM.
“Destructive tendencies in the game, those who deliberately want to injure you and cut short your career.
“Then the usual unending speculations, especially about Ghanaian players using ‘juju’ to play football.
“Even those [players in the diaspora] who were raised here and go to Europe to play there, most of them, because of ‘juju’, don’t want to play for Ghana.
“It’s a very big problem we are trying to unravel and make right.”
Ghana have already made contact with Nketiah and Lamptey, both born to Ghanaian parents in England and currently youth internationals for their country of birth.
On Monday, the latter made headlines with a fine performance for Brighton in their 2020-21 Premier League opener against Chelsea.
“In fact, when I was watching [Lamptey] on TV, the first thing I did was to call a couple of people and it was clear that he will be a good player for our national team, the Black Stars,” Amoakoh added.
“It is not going to be easy [to get him to switch international allegiance]. The national team’s department is making serious efforts to get his parents and the boy to agree to play for Ghana.
“But it’s not going to be easy. I don’t want to sound like its impossible, but it’s not going to be easy.
“Most of the [Ghanaian] players born in Europe, if you want to entice them to come and play for Ghana, it is very difficult. They mostly aspire to play for their country of birth or host countries. Even their parents don’t opt for their children playing for Ghana.”
In 2012, then Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic partly blamed the use of black magic by Ghanaian players as a reason for the Black Stars’ disappointing 2012 Africa Cup of Nations campaign.