Coach Avram Grant has left out Sulley Ali Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng from Ghana’s squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament to be held in Gabon from January 14.
The duo had expressed interest in returning to the national team after they were suspended for misconduct in camp during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
It is recalled that Muntari, who plays for Saudi Arabian side Ittihad Jeddah, apologised to the country and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) for the role he played in marring the country’s participation in the World Cup and expressed interest in returning to the squad.
In his letter to the GFA in June 2016, Muntari wrote: “I write to express my sincere apology to the Ghana Football Association and the entire nation for any embarrassment that my action in Brazil brought to the Black Stars team, the Ghana Football Association and my beloved country Ghana.
“I have reflected on what happened and I am deeply sorry and apologise to all the stakeholders in the GFA who were offended by my actions.
“Ghana has a special place in my heart and I will forever be indebted to my country and all the fans who have supported me from the beginning.
“I am always available to play for the senior national team of Ghana whenever I am invited.”
Boateng also hinted in an interview with CCTV in November 2016 that he would welcome a return to the national team after his suspension.
He told CCTV: “It is for every player a big dream to play a World Cup. If there would be a chance to play a third World Cup, I would not say no.
“There are not a lot of players who can say they played in three World Cups. But before this happens, we have to have a lot of talks because I don’t want to go back with a bad spirit. If I would go back, I want everything to be perfect so we can work perfectly together.”
However on January 2 2017, Coach Avram Grant named a provisional 26-man squad for the 2017 Afcon, leaving out the two players.
Instead, the former Chelsea boss named five new youngsters – Ebenezer Ofori, Joseph Larweh Attamah, Andy Yiadom, Bernard Tekpetey and Rahpael Dwamena – in his squad.
Below is the provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Razak Braimah (Cordoba, Spain), Adam Kwarasey (Rosenborg, Norway), Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars)
Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Andy Yiadom (Barnsley, England), Baba Rahman (Schalke, Germany), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), John Boye (Sivasspor, Turkey), Jonathan Mensah (Anzhi, Russia), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Edwin Gyimah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)
Midfielders: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy), Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain) Mubarak Wakaso (Panathinaikos, Greece), Christian Atsu (Newcastle, England), Ebenezer Ofori (AIK Stockholm, Sweden), Samuel Tetteh (Leifering, Austria), Joseph Larweh Attamah (Baak?ehir, Turkey)
Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ahli, UAE) Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa, England), Abdul-Majeed Waris (Lorient, France), Andre Ayew (West Ham, England), Ebenezer Assifuah (Sion, Switzerland), Bernard Terkpetey (Schalke 04, Germany), Raphael Dwamena (Austria Lustenau, Austria).