Afriyie Barnieh should have earned a place in Milovan Rajevac’s final AFCON squad – Karim Zito

Published on: 18 January 2022

Ghana national U-20 coach, Karim Zito believes Hearts of Oak forward Daniel Afriyie Barnieh should have earned a place in Milovan Rajevac’s 28 players for AFCON 2021.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is currently ongoing in Cameroon as 24 countries battle it out for the covetous trophy.

Ghana are in search for a fifth AFCON title after last winning it 1982 in Libya.

The 67-year-old return to the Black Stars happened at a time where the Satellites emerged as African U-20 champions for the third time.

In 2010, some members of the U-20 team that conquered the world to become the only African country to win the World Cup made it into Rajevac’s squad.

Players like Agyemang Badu, current Black Stars captain, Dede Ayew, Rabiu Mohammed, Samuel Inkoom and others made into the senior national soccer team after their exploits.

Despite the Black Satellites triumph in Mauritania last year, only two players made Milovan Rajevac’s squad for the 2021 AFCON, something that worries Karim Zito.

Dreams duo Abdul Fatawu Issahaku and Philemon Baffour are the only U-20 players that made the cut for the tournament.

Barnieh, who captained the side and won the man of the match award in the final, was excluded from both the preliminary and final squad lists for the competition and Zito believes the forward should have been considered.

“If he [Milo] had consulted me I’ll have added Barnieh, seriously. But he’s the coach, what he felt is not what I’m feeling. I have my criteria in doing my selections, he also has his criteria. Maybe these two [Baffour and Issahaku] fell in his way of scouting his players”

“I scouted them for u20 before I scout you, first I look at the talent, awareness with and without the ball, physical appearance and then mental toughness,” Zito said in a JoySports interview.

Jordan Ayew, Richard Boakye-Yiadom, Benjamin Tetteh and Great Olympic’s Maxwell Abbey Quaye are amongst forwards called up by Milo for the tournament.

In total, five local players; Abbey Quaye, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, Richard Attah, David Abagna and Philemon Baffour made the list to Cameroon.