Ghana name Qatar as Equatorial Guinea friendly replacement

The Black Stars will step up preparations for November’s double-header against Sudan with a test match against the 2022 World Cup hosts 

Ghana have scheduled a friendly date with 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar on October 12, the West Africans’ Football Association have announced.

Scheduled for the Turkish city of Antalya, the match will come off three days after the Black Stars face Mali in a first friendly fixture.

Qatar replace Equatorial Guinea who were initially billed to play Ghana on October 12 but later pulled out of the game.

“Ghana has lined up a friendly against Qatar on Monday, October 12, in Antalya, Turkey,” the GFA have announced on their official website. “The 2022 World Cup host, comes in to replace Equatorial Guinea who pulled out of a similar friendly, over travelling restrictions.

“The Black Stars were scheduled to play Mali on Friday, October 9, and Equatorial Guinea three days later in next month’s FIFA International window (except for European countries) but the latter pulled out of the game, citing new travel restrictions imposed in their country.

“Qatar, who have a game against India on October 8, will take on Ghana on Monday, October 12, 2020.

“The two countries will use the friendly to prepare for their respective international competitions in November.”

The friendly games are set to test Ghana’s strength ahead of resumption of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in November.

After what will be a 12-month interval, the Black Stars will return to competitive action with a double-header against Sudan in the race to Cameroon.

The games were originally scheduled for March but had to be postponed due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

Ghana coach CK Akonnor has already named a 23-man squad for the October friendlies, handing debut call-ups to France-born Strasbourg defender Alexander Djiku, Nordsjaelland winger Kamaldeen Sulemana, Amiens midfielder Emmanuel Lomotey, Yakubu Mohammed of Tanzanian side Azam, and Slovakia-based Benson Anang.

Crystal Palace midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp has been recalled for the first time since March 2019, similar situations to goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi, left-back Lumor Agbenyenu and Pyramids forward John Antwi.

Fiorentina midfielder Alfred Duncan has, however, been overlooked, as have China-based Mubarak Wakaso, Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu, Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Majeed Ashimeru and veteran striker Asamoah Gyan who is currently unattached. 

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