Big names left out of Ghana squad for Cup of Nations

John Mensah (left)

Former captain John Mensah and Marseille striker Jordan Ayew are notable absentees from Ghana's provisional 26-man squad for next month's Africa Cup of Nations.

Mensah (pictured above) is currently without a club after being released by the French side Lyon during the close-season.

There is no place for Michael Essien, who asked to be left out in order to focus on his club career at Real Madrid.

The squad features 11 players from the group knocked out at the semi-final stage by eventual champions Zambia earlier this year.

Coach Kwesi Appiah will trim the squad to 23 after a training camp in the United Arab Emirates, where Ghana will play friendlies against Tunisia and Egypt.

Ghana will be seeking to win a fifth Africa Cup of Nations title, when the tournament gets underway in South Africa from 19 January.

The Black Stars, though, have not won the continent's top prize since 1982, when they beat Libya 7-6 on penalties in the final.

Ghana squad:

Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset, Norway), Fatau Dauda (AshantiGold), Daniel Adjei (Liberty Professionals)

Defenders: John Paintsil (Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Israel), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Kissi Boateng (Berekum Chelsea), Wakasu Mubarak (Espanyol, Spain), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Isaac Vorsah (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor, Turkey), Rashid Sumaila (Asante Kotoko), Awal Mohammed (Maritzburg United, South Africa).

Midfielders: Andre Ayew (Marseille, France), Christian Atsu (FC Porto, Portgal), Anthony Annan (Osasuna, Spain), Derek Boateng (Dnipro Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine), Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Albert Adomah (Bristol City, England), Rabiu Mohammed (Evian, France), Solomon Asante (Berekum Chelsea).

Strikers: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Emmanuel Clottey (Esperance, Tunisia), Boakye Yiadom (Sassuolo, Italy), Yahaya Mohammed (Amidaus Professionals).