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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Ghana trims Athens squad
By Michael oti Adjei
BBC Sport, Accra

Juventus and Ghana's Steven Appiah
Juventus' star Steven Appiah is in Ghana's Olympic squad

Ghana coach Mariano Barreto has cut his sqaud for the Athens Olympics to 18 players, but there is no place for Lyon midfielder Michael Essien.

Essien, who helped Lyon win the French title last season, was the biggest casualty when Barreto cut down his initial squad from twenty six to eighteen after a two week training camp in Portugal.

One big name that is in the Ghana squad for the Olympics is Juventus midfielder Stephen Appiah who is one of three over-aged players allowed by Fifa for the tournament.

The other two are William Tierro of Asante Kotoko and Locomotive Moscow's Baffour Gyan.

There are fourteen oversees based players in the side while there are five from Ghanaian league champions Asante Kotoko.

Barreto has placed four players to be on standby, they are Derek Boateng, Razak Ibrahin, Razak Pimpong, who all featured prominently in the qualifiers, and defender Patrick Villars.

Ghana will kick off their Group B campaign against Italy on 12 August before taking on Paraguay and Japan.

The Black Meteors' game against Italy is a repeat of the 1996 clash between the two sides at the Atlanta games that Ghana won 3-2.

The team is due to arrive in Athens on 9 August from Portugal after they play warm-up games against Sporting Lisbon and Benfica between 3-8 August.

Ghana's Olympic squad:

George Owu, Mohammed Alhassan (all Asante Kotoko),

John Mensah (Chievo, Italy), Emmanuel Pappoe (Moadon Sport Ashdod, Israel), John Paintsil (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel), Dan Coleman (Hearts of Oak)

Sule Muntari (Udinese, Italy), Abubakar Yahuza (King Faisal Babes), Yusif Chibsah, William Tiero, Charles Taylor (all Asante Kotoko), Stephen Appiah (Juventus, Italy), Lamine Nasir (Ashanti Gold)

Isaac Boakye (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany), Kwadwo Poku (Midtjyland, Denmark), Asamoah Gyan (Udinese, Italy)

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