With squads finalised for the 2015/2016 UEFA Champions League group stages, Citi Sports’ Nathan Quao looks at the Ghanaians who will get the chance to take part in the world’s top club competition.
Baba Rahman (defender, Chelsea)
The young player is getting his first taste of the competition after joining from Augsburg and the general expectation is that he will feature in some of the matches especially as the Blues have shown defensive uncertainties in their first four matches in the Barclays Premier League.
One cannot tell if he will command the left back slot as the season wears on but Rahman will get to play in the competition at a point.
Chelsea will play 6 group matches in all and if their reputation in the tournament is anything to go by, they should book their place in the knockout stages before match day 6.
You cannot fight the idea that says the safe matches will be Rahman’s platform to show his talents.
Chelsea’s group fixtures:
Chelsea vs Maccabi Tel Aviv at Stamford Bridge- 16th September
FC Porto vs Chelsea at the Estadio Dragao- 29th September
Dynamo Kiev vs Chelsea at the Nsk Olimpijs’kyj- 20th October
Chelsea vs Dyanmo Kiev at Stamford Bridge- 4th November
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Chelsea at the Bloomfield Stadium- 24th November
Chelsea vs FC Porto at Stamford Bridge- 9th December
Enoch Adu Kofi (midfielder, FF Malmo)
This will be Adu Kofi’s second run in the competition after he featured in the 2012/2013 campaign for Nordsjælland.
He played in the team’s six group matches but they ended up last in a group that had Juventus, Shakhar Donestk and Chelsea.
It is not too clear how Malmo’s run will go as they have to play against PSG, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk but they can rely on Adu Kofi’s experience.
Morever, he is a far clearer situation than Baba Rahman when you talk about game time.
He has already played 15 times this season and he was also in action for Malmo when they beat Celtic 2-0 in the second leg of their qualification playoff.
On a lighter note, he can even give them some information about the competition especially when they face Donetsk since he has played against them before.
Malmo’s group fixtures:
PSG vs Malmo at the Parc des Princes- 15th September
FF Malmo vs Real Madrid at the Swedbank Stadion- 30th September
Malmo FF vs Shakhtar Donetsk at the Swedbank Stadion- 21st October
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Malmo FF at the Donbass Arena- 3rd November
Malmo FF vs PSG at the Swedbank Stadion- 25th November
Nana Akwasi Asare (defender , KAA Gent)
The left-sided player gets to play in the Champions League for the first time despite years of playing in Europe. He featured for Mechelen in Belgium from 2005 t0 2009 and Utrecht in Holland from 2009 to 2013. He switched to Gent in 2013 on a four-year deal.
All those matches he has played before will be tested as he and his team-mates line up in Group H with Olympique Lyon, Valencia and Zenit St. Petersburg.
The Champions League platform is the highest of its kind so Asare will hope the eyes of the Black Stars selectors will be watch him and bring him back to the team after his last appearance in 2012.
Malmo FF’s Group fixtures:
KAA Gent vs Olympique Lyon at the GHELAMCO-arena- 16th September
Zenit St. Petersburg vs KAA Gent at the Stadion Petrovskij- 29th September
Valencia vs KAA Gent at the Estadio Mesatalla- 20th October
KAA Gent vs Valencia at the GHELAMCO-arena- 4th November
Olympique Lyon vs KAA Gent at the Stade Gerland- 24th November
KAA Gent vs Zenit St. Petersburg at the GHELAMCO-arena- 9th December 2015
Patrick Twumasi (forward, Astana)
The former Red Bull Academy player and his team-mates in the Astana team will be hoping their first time in the Champions League will not be a very bumpy ride after being put in Group C with Atletico Madrid, Galatasaray, and Benfica.
But whatever happens, the team from Astana will try to compete very well against their more established opponents and they will rely on the goals of Twumasi who is enjoying a second sting with the team after he first played for them in 2013 on loan from Spartaks Jurmala.
Then, he scored six goals but when he returned in 2014, he got a better return of 10 and that was enough to push them to win the Kazahstan league. This season, he has scored 6 goals in 20 appearances.
He turned down offers from other European clubs because he was about to enjoy the big time with Astana.
Astana’s Group fixtures:
Benfica vs Astana at the Estadio Da Luz- 15th September
Astana vs Galatasaray at the Astana Arena- 30th September
Atletico Madrid vs Astana at the Estadio Vicente Calderon- 21st October
Astana vs Atletico Madrid at the Astana Arena- 3rd November
Astana vs Benfica at the Astana Arena- 25th November
Galatsaray vs Astana at the Türk Telekom Arena- 8th December
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