Football has gone through a series of revolutions, and despite the nationality switch rule having existed since the 20 century, the rule during that time allowed players to represent different countries at the senior level at different tournaments, only if, the player had citizenship.
But as the time went on, the need to protect countries from losing their best talent necessitated FIFA, the world soccer governing body, notably in 2004, to rethink the eligibility rules by requiring that a player must demonstrate a ‘clear connection’ to any country they wish to represent. The new law also allows a player to represent one country at the youth level, and another at the senior level, as long as the necessary ‘connection’ can be established.
Nonetheless, Ghana over the years has been at both ends; losing out on great talent, and gaining others. Pulse.com.gh looks at Ghanaian-born players who are yet to decide over their international future.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah [Manchester United - Defender]
The 18-year-old is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder, centre-back or full-back for English club Manchester United.
The Ghanaian born-Dutch center back who has already represented Dutch U-20 team is expected to star for the U-19 side in the European Championship qualifiers in March when they face Poland, Ukraine and Northern Ireland.
This makes Ghana's chances of landing the defender difficult as the European country looks to develop the lad through the ranks before handing him a senior cap.
Born in Amsterdam, Fosu-Mensah began his career with Ajax before moving to England in 2014.
Gideon Jung [Hamburg SV - Defensive midfielder]
Budding German-Ghanaian star Gideon Jung is in a dilemma over choosing between Ghana and Germany with regards to where to pledge his international allegiance.
He is a German professional footballer who currently plays for Bundesliga club Hamburger SV. He made his professional debut for Hamburger SV on 14 August 2015, in a fixture against Bayern Munich.
Jung has been named in Germany’s provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Brazil, according to German sports news outlet MOPO, sparking concerns that the midfielder could be on his way to joining the senior team.
Reports coming in however, indicate that, despite the defensive midfielder being named by Germany for the Rio Olympics, it appears he has some thinking to do before making his mind up.
The mercurial player has lately been given attention by Ghanaian coach Avram Grant which has made him thread cautiously by the growing interest from Ghana.
Inaki Williams [Athletic Bilbao - Striker]
While Iñaki was born and raised in Bilbao, his father is a Ghanaian whiles his mother is from Liberia. Inaki's parents actually met at a refugee camp in Ghana, exiled due to the war in their home country, before moving to Barakaldo in Soain. His father now works in London, his mother in Pamplona and it’s Pamplona where his journey to stardom began.
An electric-paced winger, who is physically improving year on year and who has with an eye for goal doesn’t come around too often.
Inaki William's a natural finisher having come through the youth ranks as a striker, which means he’s deadly drifting in from the wing - as demonstrated by his goal against Espanyol earlier on in the year.
In 2014, on the 6th of December, Williams made history as he became the first black man to play for Athletic Club.
Hiram Boateng [Crystal Palace - Central midfielder]
Hiram Boateng is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Plymouth Argyle on loan from Crystal Palace.
The 20 year old was born in Wandsworth and played in the Crystal Palace academy from the age of eight and progressed to the first team in 2013.
Boateng is eligible to represent Ghana as he has both a British passport and a Ghanaian passport
He even revealed his Ghanaian desire after wishing the West African nation a happy 59th Independence anniversary last month.
Dennis Appiah [Right back - Anderlecht]
The Toulouse-born has refused to rule out playing for either of Ghana or France in the future.
Anddrlecht right-back Appiah is still unsettled on which nation to pledge his international future. He is a French football player of Ghanaian descent who currently plays for club Caen in Ligue 1. He is a France youth international having earned caps at under-16, under-17, and under-18 level.
Appiah plays as a defensive midfielder and is also capable of playing in defence as a central defender. On 19 May 2010, he signed his first professional contract agreeing to a three-year deal. Appiah made his professional debut on 1 August 2011 in a league match against Boulogne. He played the entire match, which ended 0–0
Born to a Ghanaian father in France, the 23-year-old is eligible to represent either nation at senior level, and the issue has become prominent over the past months following Appiah’s fine form in Ligue 1 this season.
Jonathan Opoku [VVV-Venlo. - Attacking midfielder]
Opoku can play for Ghana without needing a nationality switch as he has not played for the Dutch national team.
He was born 24 years ago to a Ghanaian father and a Dutch mother in Zuphen, Holland.
Opoku played for lower division side FC Veendam before joining Oss in the summer of 2013.
The attacking midfielder made history last year by becoming the first person in NINE YEARS to score four goals in one match for his former Dutch second tier side Oss.
He currently plays for VVV-Venlo.