Ghana Coach Milovan Rajevac has defended his choice to include a teenager, Felix Afena Gyan, in his squad to play in World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and South Africa.
The 18-year-old is part of the squad of 28 for the crucial matches, but he’s inexperienced and has only played the equivalent of 81 minutes of first-team football in his entire career.
Afena Gyan made his debut for the first team this week after José Mourinho put him on in the 2-1 win of Roma against Cagliari at the top of Serie A.
He remained with the team and was added as a substitute in the second half of the 2-1 defeat to Napoli in the Stadio Olimpico.
The selection has been criticized by the former Ghana national Prince Tagoe who wants the striker to improve before being subjected to issues with the national team.
But Rajevac believes that Afena Gyan is in good shape and will assist Ghana secure victories in the two previous matches and qualify for the play-offs.
“I believe the people from AS Roma and [Jose] Mourinho is a famous coach, he’s known for his accomplishments in his career, [and] if they are assured to give him a chance, [then] we also believe he is good for the Black Stars],” Rajevac said at a press conference on Thursday.
“For example, [in their] last match, he played against AC Milan and came on in the second half, and if they think [he’s good for opportunities, then we believe too].
“He’s a young player and he definitely has prospects and by his performance, he is a promising talent. So why shouldn’t we be assured [about him]?”
The Wenchi-born striker has been famous recently after gaining the trust of one of the world’s greatest coaches, José Mourinho, who is keen to promote him to the U19 squad.
Afena Gyan has recorded six goals in the U19 team. He is the top goalscorer in the Italian U19 league.
Ghana will be playing away against Ethiopia on November 14th and will host South Africa four days later. Prior to the two final games during the 2nd round of qualifying tournament, Black Stars currently hold the second spot, just one point in front of South Africa.