The build-up to Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in opposition to Ethiopia has been lower than perfect for coach Kwesi Appiah.
Kwadwo Asamoah, one of many Black Stars’ most spectacular gamers in Europe this season, has withdrawn following a knee damage.
Nonetheless, the circumstances of his absence prompted assistant coach Maxwell Konadu to deny strategies that the Internazionale man had pulled out due to a rift with the Ayew brothers, thereby giving oxygen to the rumours.
Appiah might be hoping the main focus shifts again to soccer as shortly as attainable, and in Thomas Partey, he has simply the man to unite the facet and safe Ghana attain their eighth consecutive AFCON finals.
Whereas the returning Ayew brothers and captain Asamoah Gyan – who has made the squad despite his lack of minutes within the Tremendous Lig – are attracting the headlines, Partey is the almost certainly to be the match-winner.
He is actually in superb type, having scored one and contributed one other help as Atletico Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao Three-2 in La Liga on the weekend.
That efficiency got here on the again of a superb exhibiting in opposition to Borussia Dortmund, through which he arrange one other objective in a 2-Zero residence victory.
For Ghana, he has quick grow to be indispensable, having scored seven objectives in his final seven matches for the Black Stars. This season, his two league objectives is a higher return than the 4 strikers Ghana are taking to Ethiopia mixed.
Despite nominally being a defensive midfielder, Partey is arguably the Stars’ chief attacking menace.
“He can [anchor] a staff properly and, of late, his scoring capability is unbelievable,” Appiah instructed KweseESPN in November 2017. “For me, he’s an all-round participant.
“He leads just by what he does.”
Solely time will inform whether or not Appiah’s choice to flip again to a number of the nation’s extra established – however underperforming – gamers is a clever transfer.
Both method, it appears doubtless that Partey represents Ghana’s greatest hope of maintaining their run of consecutive AFCON appearances alive.