Mohammed Salisu: Southampton defender gives latest update on playing for Ghana



The 22-year-old opens on the possibility of playing for the four-time African champions

Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu has said he thinks the time is still not right to play for Ghana.

Two years after making his professional breakthrough while then playing for La Liga side Real Valladolid, the centre-back is yet to start an international career, having turned down previous opportunities.

He received his first Ghana call-up for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe in 2019 but rejected the call-up for fitness reasons.

“I’ll be so proud to play to my country, to play with Ghana, the national team,” Salisu told MozzartSport Kenya.

“But I think this is not the right moment to play in the national team. I think I need to focus on the club side because I am young, I think I need to focus on the club first and then after, when everything is fine, I can go and play for Ghana.”

Salisu’s unavailability for national duty generated controversy in the past.

In March 2020, having turned down his first call-up, the defender was highly expected to be call-up for an Afcon qualifier against Sudan but was surprisingly missing from the squad.

Ghana coach CK Akonnor, who had just assumed duty as head coach of the Black Stars, told pressmen the centre-back has not shown interest in wearing the national jersey, having failed to honour calls prior to the squad announcement.

This explanation did not go down well with the player, who felt the coach’s remarks threw him under the proverbial bus.

“Mohammed Salisu has confirmed to play for us and he is part of our plans. The moment isn’t right to invite him,” GFA communications director Henry Asante Twum told Nhyira FM last month.

“We are only happy he has overcome his challenges at Southampton and started getting playing time. He is top quality material for the Premier League undoubtedly and will help us.

“When Covid-19 restrictions are lifted he will be back on our radar.”

The defender could be handed his second call-up as Ghana face Ethiopia and South Africa in the 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in June.



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