End of the road? Augustine Okrah handed Thomas Partey’s #5 jersey at Black Stars camp

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The diminutive forward was given the iconic jersey previously worn by the Arsenal superstar ahead of the of Afcon qualifiers

Bechem United midfielder Augustine Okrah has been handed jersey number 5 after arriving at the Black Stars camp following his debut call up.

Ghana coach Otto Addo gave Okrah his first-ever call up to the senior national team after an explosive season with Bechem United where he has scored 13 Premier League goals and four FA Cup goals.

However, a section of Ghanaians believe the skillful midfielder may struggle to break into the first team ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Madagascar on Wednesday since locally-based players are mostly handed call ups just to add up to the numbers at the national team camp.

Interestingly, Okrah has been given jersey number 5 which until recently was worn by Arsenal midfielder and Ghana deputy captain Thomas Teye Partey.

The box-to-box midfielder was not selected for the game due to injury issues as he has missed Arsenal’s last five six games. Yet, many Ghanaians believe the road may be over for Okrah because of the technical team’s decision to give him Partey’s jersey which is a clear indication of no intention to retain him after the international break.

It will be recalled that during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations staged in Cameroon, Asamoah Gyan’s iconic jersey number 3 was given to Philimon Baffour who was then a local player plying his trade with Dreams FC

Baffour did not make a single appearance during the tournament and many Ghanaians argued that he was given that jersey number in order to preserve Gyan’s legacy as Ghana bowed out with a single point.

Meanwhile, many have also argued that the coaches handed Okrah Partey’s jersey because they know what he brings on board and want to motivate him in the long run.

Moreover, since 33 players were called for the qualifiers and four-nation tournament to be played in Japan, players like Benjamin Tetteh were even spotted without a jersey number because the players in camp are more than the jerseys available that have been numbered.

Meanwhile, Hearts of Oak youngster Daniel Afriyie Barnieh was given jersey number 23 which is notably used by Strasbourg defender Alexander Djiku who was not called due to some personal issues.

The Black Stars will leave Ghana on Thursday for the second game of the group against Central Africa Republic.

They will then travel to Japan for a four-nation tournament.

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