COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced that two of its players have received international call-ups from the Ghana Football Association: Harrison Afful and Jonathan Mensah. The two defenders are set to join Ghana ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, to take place in Gabon beginning January 14. Between the two of them, Afful and Mensah have a combined 116 appearances for Ghana.
Ghana qualified to be one of 16 participants for the tournament after winning 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Qualification Group H, ahead of Mozambique, Rwanda, and Mauritius. The Black Stars are in Group D with Mali, Egypt, and Uganda, and will open up the tournament against Uganda in Port-Gentil (January 17). This will be the 31st edition of the tournament and the winner of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations will qualify for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. Last tournament, Ghana was one of the two finalists, eventually losing via penalty kicks to Ivory Coast after a hotly contested 120 minutes of play.
Opening Match: Crew SC hosts Chicago Fire on March 4
Afful has earned 65 caps for Ghana, with his last cap coming in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match against Egypt on November 13, 2016. He was a member of the Ghana National Team during last three editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, playing every minute of the 2013 and 2015 editions. Mensah has represented the Black Stars on 51 occasions, with his last match also coming against Egypt on November 13, 2016. He was a member of the Ghana squad during the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations, and he played every minute of every match during the 2015 edition of the tournament.
Under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, the 2017 MLS Preseason begins on Monday, January 23, 2017 after entrance physicals and testing. From there, the club departs to Sao Paulo, Brazil for its first preseason camp. Crew SC is slated to remain in Brazil through February 9 before returning to Columbus. The team will be in Central Ohio at SuperKick in Powell from February 8 – February 12 for the second camp of preseason. Following the time in Ohio, the club travels to Charleston, South Carolina to participate in the 2017 Carolina Challenge Cup. More information on Season Ticket Memberships for the 2017 season at MAPFRE Stadium is available at columbuscrewsc.com.