Decisions to be made for Abdul Nurudeen if young keeper has AFCON 2023 ambitions

With AFCON 2024 fast approaching, many players will be looking at their current game time and wondering if it will be enough to impress national coaches. With Ghana recently announcing Chris Houghton as their new head coach, many Black Stars hopefuls will be looking to impress the former Brighton man.

One of those should be Abdul Nurudeen, the 24-year-old goalkeeper at Eupen. Nurudeen has seen his game time severely limited by the form of former Union Berlin keeper Lennart Moser, who has impressed since taking over. This lack of game time certailny impacted Nurudeen, who was then unable to stake a claim to the number one spot for the Black Stars in Qatar. First choice keeper Jojo Wollacott was ruled out of the entire tournament with injury, while second choice keeper Richard Ofori was also unable to appear in Qatar. In the end it was Lawrence Ati Zigi, a regular for St Gallen in Swizerland, who was given the nod.

Nurudeen had been the third choice at the previous AFCON, but clearly his lack of match time for Eupen hindered his chances. So far this season he has only made three appearances. With a contract at the club until 2026, the keeper is looking at a back-up role to Moser who is under contract until 2025. It is now down to whether the player can see himself retaking his number one spot either through poor form from the German or if he moves on. This summer will certainly see Nurudeen have to make a big decision if he has any ambition of starting between the posts for Ghana in Cote d’Ivoire.

There should certainly be options for the 24-year-old. During the Kirin Cup in Japan, the young goalkeeper showed his qualities when he saved three penalties in the third place match against Chile as Ghana took the bronze medal.

The Black Stars still need to wrap up qualification for the upcoming AFCON, but that should be a formality. They are currently joint top of their group alongside Angola with four points. They will face the Black Antelopes twice in March, and if all goes well could virtually secure qualification then. After that they will face Niger and the Central African Republic in June and September.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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