Top 15 Ghanaian Footballers Who Chose To Play for Other Countries Over the Black Stars

Top 15 Ghanaian Footballers Who Chose To Play for Other Countries Over the Black Stars

Isaac Darko
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:02 PM
  • President of the Ghana Football Association, Kurt Okraku has confirmed foreign-born players with Ghanaian lineage have declared their readiness to represent Ghana
  • But there are other Ghanaian-born footballers who chose not to represent the four-time African champions
  • Sports Brief highlights the top Ghana players who represented other countries, featuring Danny Welbeck, Mario Balotelli and Jerome Boateng

The senior men's national team, Black Stars has been inundated with positive news following the revelation of a quintet of players ready to play for Ghana.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has been working assiduously to convince players with dual nationality to switch international allegiance.

With barely four months left for the start of the FIFA World Cup, the president of the Ghana FA Kurt Edwin Simeon-Okraku has confirmed there has been a breakthrough with negotiations of convincing foreign-born players with Ghanaian lineage.

Mario Balotelli, Danny Welbeck, Jerome Boateng, Marcel Desailly, Yusuf Musah, Memphis Depay, Robin Quaison, Freddy Adu, Gerald Asamoah, Nigel Quashie, Alexander Tettey, George Boateng, David Odonkor, Alphonso Davies
Danny Welbeck, Mario Balotelli, Jerome Boateng and top Ghanaian footballers who chose to play for other countries over the Black Stars. Credit: @ghanaballers
Source: Twitter

Kurt Okraku revealed a quintet of players available for selection in Ghana's next international assignment.

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The list includes marauding Brighton wing-back Tariq Lamptey, who was in Ghana last month, Spanish-born forward Inaki Williams and Hamburg centre-half, Stephan Ambrosius.

German-born pair Patrick Pfeffer and Ransford Yeboah will all be available for Ghana's next assignment.

But there are other Ghanaian-born footballers who chose not to represent the four-time African champions.

Sports Brief looks at the top 15 Ghanaian-born footballers who decided to represent other countries ahead of the Black Stars.

Yusuf Musah (Ghana to England to USA)

Yunus Dimoara Musah was born in New York City while his Ghanaian mother was on vacation in the United States. His father is also Ghanaian. They later moved to Italy and then England, where he mostly grew up.

As a youth, Musah was eligible to play for the United States, Ghana, Italy, and England. However, made his youth international debut for England before committing to the United States in 2021.

The Valencia midfielder has played 16 games for the USA, and is set to represent them at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Alphonso Davies (Ghana to Canada)

The Bayern Munich defender was born in Buduburam, a Ghanaian refugee camp, after his parents had fled the civil war in Liberia. The Davies family were able to immigrate to Canada when Alphonso was five, eventually settling in Edmonton, Alberta.

The teenager would have been eligible to represent his country of birth at international level, but chose to play for Canada.

After featuring for the U17 and U20 teams, he made history as the youngest player to turn out for the seniors, debuting against Curaçao on 14 June 2017. He had only obtained his Canadian citizenship a week earlier.

Marcel Desailly (Ghana to France)

Desailly made the controversial decision to play for France, instead of his parents' home country of Ghana. He has often said that he feels totally French and while having ties with his native country, never even considered playing for another country than France.

This stance was restated in his autobiography, published in 2002. He made his international debut in 1993; but was not established as a first choice defender until 1996. He won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championships in 2000. After the tournament, Desailly was made the captain of the national team, following the retirement of Didier Deschamps. In 2001, he led France to victory in the Confederations Cup.

Mario Balotelli (Ghana to Italy)

Balotelli received his first Ghana call-up from former Black Stars coach Claude Le Roy for a friendly against Senegal in 2007, as his parents are both Ghanaian-born. But but he refused to honour the invitation, citing he was waiting for Italy to give him the nod.

Arguably one of the most controversial characters in world football, the former Liverpool forward has scored 13 times for Italy in 33 appearances.

Balotelli made his first appearance for the Italy senior team in 2010. He has played 36 matches, scoring 14 goals for the Azzurris.

Jerome Boateng (Ghana to Germany)

Although Lyon’s towering central-defender was born and raised in Germany’s capital, Boateng comes from a home of a Ghanaian father. He has visited the West African country before, describing the experience as “emotional”.

Boateng excelled at youth level for Germany, as did his brother, Kevin-Prince – who opted to rather represent Ghana – the country for whom his uncle Robert had also played, with Jerome opting for Germany – for whom the two had excelled at youth level.

David Odonkor (Ghana to Germany)

Odonkor was once courted by the Ghana Football Association for a nationality switch from Germany to enable him feature for Black Stars at 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Born in Bünde to a German mother and a Ghanaian father, Odonkor made his full debut on 30 May 2006 in a friendly match against Japan, going on to appear as a substitute in four World Cup games, most notably against Poland in the group stage, where he displayed an excellent performance and assisted Oliver Neuville’s winning goal in stoppage time.

Odonkor was called up to UEFA Euro 2008 by Joachim Löw, where he was used as a second-half substitute in a 1–2 loss against Croatia.

Memphis Depay (Ghana to Netherlands)

The 26-year-old is of Ghanaian descent as he was born to a Ghanaian father and a Dutch mother in Moordrecht.

The Barcelona forward, despite not featuring for the Black Stars, often comes to Ghana to relax and support children with special disabilities among many other things.

Despite the strong ties, Depay chose to represent The Netherlands national team.

George Boateng (Ghana to Netherlands)

Boateng is a former Dutch footballer who is of Ghanaian descent. He is currently the technical director of Kelantan FA playing in Malaysia Super League.

Although born in Ghana, Boateng chose to represent Netherlands at international level, earning four caps in total for Oranje. Boateng made his international début for the Netherlands in a 1–1 draw with Denmark in November 2001.

Notable English clubs he played for are Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Hull City.

Alexander Tettey (Ghana to Norway)

Tettey was born in Accra, Ghana, but moved to Bodø in Norway in 1999. He later moved to Trondheim and started to play football for Kolstad.

After joining Rosenborg’s youth department, Tettey made his debut for the first team in a friendly match against GIF Sundsvall in January 2003, and in September 2003 he joined the first team squad and became the youngest player in Rosenborg’s first team squad since Ola By Rise, Knut Torbjørn Eggen and Øivind Husby in 1977.

Tettey is now a naturalized Norwegian and has been capped for the Norwegian under-18, 19 and 21 national teams, and he made his first appearance on the Norwegian national team in their 2–1 win against Argentina on 22 August 2007.

Robin Quaison (Ghana to Sweden)

Quaison made his debut for the Swedish national football team, against North Korea in the 2013 King's Cup. Three days later he scored his first goal for Sweden in a 3–0 victory against Finland in the final of the tournament. He's gone ahead to play 39 matches for the national team, scoring 12 goals.

However, the 28-year-old was eligible to play for the Black Stars of Ghana. Quaison was born to Ghanaian father and Swedish mother Stockholm on October 1993.

Nigel Quashie (Ghana to Scotland)

Quashie was born in the London Borough of Southwark to a Ghanaian father and an English mother. He was married for ten years to Joanna, with whom he had a daughter and a son, who died shortly after birth in 1999.

After a divorce and his move to West Bromwich Albion, he started a relationship with Kerry Clarke, who in September 2005 gave birth to his son.

After several impressive performances for QPR, Quashie was awarded four England Under-21 and an England 'B' caps. "

Quashie switched his allegiance to Scotland and made his international debut against Estonia in May 2004, becoming only the second black player to represent Scotland, and the first since Andrew Watson in 1881.

Gerald Asamoah (Ghana to Germany)

Born in Ghana, Asamoah and his family emigrated to Germany in 1990.

He made his debut for Germany in 2001 against Slovakia, making him the first African-born black player to ever play for the side, as Erwin Kostedde and Jimmy Hartwig, two previous internationals with black ancestry, were both born in Germany to African-American fathers.

He scored on his debut and went on to play in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

Danny Welbeck (Ghana to England)

Funnily enough, the Brighton and Hove forward made his debut for England against Ghana in 2011 – the nation who he could’ve chosen to play for.

The former Manchester United striker was booed by Ghanaians when he made his entrance as a substitute in the game. Although he was born and raised in England, Welbeck’s parents are both Ghanaian.

The ex-Arsenal forward’s full name is Daniel Nii Tackie Mensah Welbeck and he has played 42 games for the Three Lions, scoring 16 goals.

Meet the Ghanaian Born Players Who Are Undecided Over Their International Future

Sports Brief earlier reported that Eddie Nketiah and Callum Hudson-Odoi have both secured their passports to switch their allegiances to play for Ghana.

But there are more talented Ghanaian-born stars who are unsettled about which nation to pledge their international future

Sports Brief looks at Ghanaian-born players who are yet to decide on which country to represent

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)