The foreign-born stars who switched allegiance to the Black Stars last week have been warned not to expect a direct admission into the team before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by veteran Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari. Inaki Williams of Athletic Bilbao, Mohammed Salisu of Southampton, Tariq Lamptey of Brighton & Hove Albion, Stephan Ambrosius, Patrick Pfeffer, and Ransford Yeboah all pledged their futures to Ghana last week, putting an end to weeks of rumors. In spite of the excitement among Black Stars supporters, Muntari, who has played for Ghana in 84 matches and in three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014), has cautioned the newcomers that it will not be simple for them and that some of them may even regret changing their nations.
“It’s not something new. When we were playing, [Kevin] Prince [Boateng], Owusu Abayie, [Albert] Adomah and [Adam] Kwasarey all came in,” Muntari said during an interview with Ghana’s GTV Sports on Monday. “It’s good that Williams and the others have decided to play for the team and the others that are about to come. It is not that you should switch your nationality because you want to play in the World Cup. The thing is that Ghana is different, Black Stars is different.” “I don’t know about this Black Stars but the one we had was different so you can switch and come in and re-switch and go back because you won’t be able to play.”
Muntari says playing for Ghana at the World Cup places a huge responsibility on the shoulders of the players and only the ones with the right qualities and character can make it, not how big the name is. “If you do not commit yourself to the nation, you will not play,” he continued. “It is beautiful but also rough, meaning people fight for their positions and you are not playing for only yourself or the passport you have but you are playing for everybody in Ghana and the continent because you represent the Black Stars, you represent the whole of Africa at the World Cup.” The former Udinese, Portsmouth and Inter Milan midfielder, who has 20 goals for his country, has also not closed the door on playing for the Black Stars, who he last represented in 2014. “Ghana, even if I’m in my crutches today and they call me to come and help, I will definitely run and go. Even if I can’t play, I will sit there and contribute,” he said. The player, who turns 38 next month, now plays for local giants Accra Hearts of Oak in the Ghana Premier League.