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By ESPN Staff

Nations Cup hosts Ghana off to Dubai

ACCRA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Ghana have taken a 27-man squad to the United Arab Emirates for their final preparations ahead of the African Nations Cup in their country later this month, the country's football association said.

Coach Claude LeRoy sprung no surprises in his selection, which will be whittled down to 23 by the Jan. 10 deadline set by the Confederation of African Football.

Named in the squad for the Dubai trip was former Arsenal striker Quincy Owusu Abeyie, despite awaiting clearance from FIFA to change his international allegiance from the Netherlands to Ghana.

Owusu Abeyie is a Dutch under-21 international but is now seeking to play for the Black Stars.

LeRoy also wants to keep captain Stephen Appiah with the squad as a motivational force, even though the Fenerbahce midfielder will miss the tournament with a knee injury.

'We will use him as a special adviser because he can bring a lot to the team even without playing,' LeRoy said on the Ghana FA website. Ghana open the Nations Cup in Accra against Group A opponents Guinea on Jan. 20.

Squad:

Goalkeepers - Sammy Adjei (Mohadon Sports Ashdod, Israel), Fatau Dauda (AshantiGold), Richard Kingson (Birmingham City, England)

Defenders: Harrison Afful (Asante Kotoko), Nana Kwasi Asare (Excelsior Moeskroen, Belgium), Francis Dickoh (FC Utrecht, Netherlands), Shilla Illiasu (Saturn Rameskoye, Russia), John Mensah (Stade Rennes, France), Dan Opare (AshantiGold), John Paintsil (West Ham United, England), Hans Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany)

Midfielders - Eric Addo (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Anthony Annan (IK Start, Norway), Andre Ayew (Olympique Marseille, France), Ahmed Barusso (Roma, Italy), Haminu Dramani (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia), Michael Essien (Chelsea, England), Laryea Kingston (Hearts, Scotland), Bernard Yao Kumodzi (Panionios, Greece), Sulley Muntari (Portsmouth, England), Moussa Narry (Etoile Sahel, Tunisia)

Forwards - Junior Agogo (Nottingham Forest, England), Matthew Amoah (NAC Breda, Netherlands), Kwadwo Asamoah (Liberty Professionals), Asamoah Gyan (Udinese, Italy), Baffour Gyan (Saturn Rameskoye, Russia), Quincy Owusu Abeyie (Celta Vigo, Spain).