Many were shocked when Otto Addo announced his Ghana squad for the World Cup in Qatar with Genk’s Joseph Paintsil not there. The winger, who was a major part of the Belgian League leaders dominating first half to the season, was seemingly someone that Addo had completely forgotten about. The winger had been included in the 55 man shortlist and was part of the most recent AFCON squad. Yet injuries had seen him miss out on friendlies against Brazil and others, which meant Addo felt he couldn’t properly assess the winger and therefore left him at home.
Clearly, Paintsil’s form for Genk should have been enough to earn him a call-up to Qatar. Since joining the Belgian side from Ferencvaros in the summer of 2018, the player has always been considered to lack quality in the final third. His speed and willingness to beat a man have always been his strength, yet his ability to create a chance for others and finish them off constantly let him down.
This season, with former Genk stars Junya Ito and Theo Bongonda gone, Paintstil had a chance to feature more. When youngster Luca Oyen also got injured early on, Paintstil became a first team regular. He has taken the chance fully and become a key member of the leagues best attack. The right-winger has linked up well with Mike Tresor and Bilal El Khannouss, as well as Paul Onuachu (who has since moved to Southampton).
This season the 25-year-old has scored 10 goals, just one behind his best tally of 11 for Ankaragucu in the 2020/2021 season. He has also provided nine assists, by far his best in terms of providing. He is exceeding both his xG (7.27) and xA (5.94), which while arguably not sustainable, shows how well he is playing.
Whether or not Paintsil would have made a difference for the Black Stars is obviously hard to say. However, with the 2024 AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire coming up in a years time, the Black Stars surely need to get Paintstil back into the fold.