Ghana gamble on injured Asamoah Gyan
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Asamoah Gyan made Ghana's final squad for the African Cup of Nations on Wednesday after a hamstring injury had threatened the striker's place at the continental championship.
Gyan was included in coach Goran Stevanovic's 23-man group in time for the midnight GMT deadline for squad lists to be registered with the Confederation of African Football.
The Ghana Football Association said the 26-year-old forward, who is on loan at Al Ain from Sunderland, has "made good progress on the injury he suffered last month."
Stevanovic was believed to have delayed his squad announcement until the day of the deadline to be sure of Gyan's fitness. Ghana is set to open its Cup of Nations campaign against Botswana on Jan. 24, giving Gyan another two weeks to fully recover.
Gyan was the star for Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, where his goals led the Black Stars to the quarterfinals. Ghana hasn't won Africa's showpiece since its fourth title in 1982.
Serbian coach Stevanovic also picked Ayew brothers Andre and Jordan of Marseille, who are the sons of Ghana great and three-time African Footballer of the Year Abedi Pele.
Lyon defender John Mensah, Inter Milan's Sulley Muntari and striker Prince Tagoe made the final selection, while forwards Derek Asamoah and Emmanuel Baffour missed out.
Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien was not in the squad, as expected, and will be absent from another major tournament for his country after a six-month layoff following surgery on his injured right knee last July.
Essien also missed most of the 2010 African Cup of Nations and all of that year's World Cup with knee problems.
Ghana will also be without AC Milan's Kevin Prince Boateng, who retired unexpectedly from international football last year.
Ghana's squad is in South Africa for warmup matches against local club sides Kaizer Chiefs and Platinum Stars and South Africa's national team. It will travel to the African Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea on Jan. 20, the GFA said.
Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Daniel Adjei (Liberty Professionals), Ernest Sowah (Bechem Chelsea).
Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), John Paintsil (Leicester), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Masawudu Alhassan (Genoa), Lee Addy (Dalian Aerbin), John Boye (Rennes), John Mensah (Lyon), Jonathan Mensah (Evian), Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim).
Midfielders: Charles Takyi (St. Pauli), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese), Derek Boateng (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Anthony Annan (Vitesse Arnhem), Mohammed Abu (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese), Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan), Andre Ayew (Marseille).
Strikers: Prince Tagoe (Bursaspor), Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Jordan Ayew (Marseille).