COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced that three of its players have received international call-ups: Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah and Justin Meram. Afful and Mensah are set to join Ghana ahead of two 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches against Congo. The first match will take place on September 1 at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana. The second match will take place on September 5 at Stade de l’Unite in Brazzaville, Congo. Meram is set to join Iraq ahead of its 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches against Thailand on August 31 and the United Arab Emirates on September 5. The match against Thailand will take place at Ranjamangala National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand with the match against the United Arab Emirates taking place at Shahid Dastgerdi Stadium in Tehran, Iran.
Ghana is currently in Group E of the CAF Final Group Stage qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup along with Egypt, Uganda and Congo. The winner of each group automatically qualifies to the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia. Ghana has qualified for each of the last three FIFA World Cup tournaments. The Black Stars are set to host Congo in Kumasi on September 1, with the match marking Ghana’s third match of the final group stage of qualification. The Black Stars then travel to Congo for their fourth 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match in Brazzaville on September 5. Ghana is currently in third place of the group with a record of 0-1-1.
Harrison Afful has earned 73 caps for Ghana, the most recent of which came against Mexico in a friendly on June 28 of this year. He is a two-time World Cup veteran, having been a member of Ghana’s roster during the 2010 and 2014 editions of the tournament. Afful was a member of the Ghana National Team during the last four editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, playing every minute of the 2013, 2015 and 2017 tournaments. This season, he has made 17 regular-season appearances (16 starts) and has recorded one assist for Crew SC.
Jonathan Mensah has represented the Black Stars on 54 occasions, with his last match coming against Mexico in a friendly on June 28 of this year. He has participated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. Mensah has made 20 regular-season appearances (19 starts) and has registered one assist for Crew SC this year.
Iraq is set to play Thailand at Ranjamangala National Stadium in Bangkok on August 31 before hosting the United Arab Emirates in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Shahid Dastgerdi Stadium in Tehran, Iran on September 5. Iraq is currently in Group B of AFC Third Round qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup along with Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. The teams that finish in first and second place of each group automatically qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while the third-place team in each group advances to a two-leg playoff series to determine which team will advance to the inter-confederation playoffs. Iraq is currently in fifth place of the group with a record of 1-2-5.
Justin Meram has earned 22 caps for Iraq. Meram’s most recent match for Iraq came in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match against the United Arab Emirates on November 15, 2016. Meram has featured in earlier matches of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, as well as the 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations and the 2015 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup. This season, Meram has made 27 appearances (26 starts), registering 11 goals and seven assists for Crew SC.
Crew SC’s 2017 roster features 11 players that have received a senior National Team call-up throughout their careers (Mohammed Abu, Harrison Afful, Waylon Francis, Ola Kamara, Cristian Martinez, Jonathan Mensah, Justin Meram, Jukka Raitala, Rodrigo Saravia, Zack Steffen, Wil Trapp).
Next up, Crew SC hosts FC Dallas at MAPFRE Stadium for their lone regular-season meeting of 2017. Columbus and Dallas play on Saturday, August 26 (7:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream available on ColumbusCrewSC.com). TICKETS.