Ghana recruits five players now eligible for World Cup duty

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Four months before competing at the World Cup, Ghana’s national team added five new recruits who are now eligible to play in Qatar.

Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey had played for England Under-21s, Hamburger SV pair Stephan Ambrosius and Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer both represented Germany Under-21s and Athletic Bilbao forward Iñaki Williams played one friendly for Spain, where he was born, six years ago. Another Germany-based player, Patric Pfeiffer, is a forward at Darmstadt.

The Ghana soccer federation said Wednesday all five have switched nationality to represent the African country.

“This follows exhaustive engagements between the leadership of the (federation), the players and their parents in the last few months,” the Ghana soccer body said in a statement.

FIFA eligibility rules let countries recruit players from their global diaspora in certain cases. Players are allowed to switch allegiance to a new national team if they never played a competitive game for the first country they were eligible to represent.

Ghana qualified for its fourth World Cup, and first since 2014, by eliminating Nigeria in a two-leg playoff in March.

Coach Otto Addo’s team was drawn in a World Cup group with Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay. The Uruguay game will be a rematch of their controversial 2010 World Cup quarterfinal in South Africa, when Ghana was denied a late winning goal by Luis Suárez’s handball save, missed the subsequent penalty, then lost in the shootout.

The World Cup starts in Qatar on Nov. 21.

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