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Sports News
Ghana set to cap Inter''s Balotelli 7/24/2007
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has expressed its determination to invite Inter Milan''s exciting prospect Mario Balotelli Barwuah to play for the country.

The 16-year-old striker, who has joined the first-team of the Serie A giants, has been unable to answer several call-ups to Italy''s junior national teams.

Barwuah was born in Italy and he is still considered as an immigrant as he was born to Ghanaian parents.

Even though he was adopted by a Brescia family at the age of three he holds a Ghana passport and the GFA are keen to take advantage.

"Our national team coach Claude Le Roy is closely monitoring Mario Balotelli Barwuah for the possibility of playing for us as he is a Ghanaian with a highly promising future," GFA vice president Fred Pappoe told BBC Sport.

"We are aware that attempts are being made to prise him away from us and we will fiercely resist it.

"His real parents have told us that they want their son to play for Ghana and we also very happy to offer him and others the opportunity to represent their motherland.

"Even though Barwuah grew up in Italy, we will offer him the opportunity to learn his culture in a friendly environment with world class players like Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien.

"The Black Stars have shown that playing in the squad will not only enhance a player''s reputation in Africa but it will also enhance their careers.

"As we prepare for the 2010 World Cup players like Andre ''Dede'' Ayew, Balotelli Barwuah and others will be the attention of our focus to take over from guys like Appiah and Essien to avoid the mistakes of the past."

''New approach''

The GFA has recently embarked on a campaign to cap Ghanaians born or raised abroad, having lost several high profile players to some European countries and America.

Former France captain Marcel Desailly was born in Accra while Germany internationals Gerald Asamoah and David Odonkor have Ghanaian parents.

Denmark youth international Sebastian Quarcoe Svard, who plays for the Bundesliga side Borussia Moenchengladbach, has a Ghanaian father while Freddy Adu and Ofori Sarkordie have played for the youth teams of the United States.

''Good results''

The GFA''s new approach has already yielded dividends as German duo Hans Sarpei and Otto Addo played in the colours of the Black Stars during last year''s World Cup.

Denmark-born defender Francis Dickoh is part of coach Claude Leroy''s plans as well as English strikers Junior Agogo and Lloyd Owusu.

"The path we have gone down can bear more fruit than it has yielded so far," Pappoe said.

"We are combing every corner of the globe to bring our players home.

"The local scene will continue to produce great players like Appiah, Essien and Muntari but we have our other sons abroad who need to join up.

"This will ensure that Ghana will reclaim its position as the force in African football and soon world football as our World Cup performance showed.

"We are confident that the combination of the best of our home-raised players and those aboard will help us attain our goals and fulfil the players'' ambitions."

Another player being targeted by the Ghanaian authorities is Andre ''Dede'' Ayew, son of Ghana legend Abedi ''Pele'', who plays for Marseille.

Inter Milan''s Batsy Kyeremanteng as well as Belgium-based King Osei Gyan are all being monitored.

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