Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams has stated he did not opt to play for Ghana just because the Black Stars qualified for the 2022 World Cup.
- Williams chose Ghana after a previous appearance for Spain
- Reveals the role played by family in making the decision
- One of the experienced stars in Ghana squad
WHAT HAPPENED? Inaki, 28, was named in the Black Stars squad that will feature in the upcoming finals in Qatar.
While defending his switch of loyalty from Spain to Ghana, Williams revealed the role played by family members, especially his grandfather.
Together with his younger brother, Nico Williams – who is heading to Qatar with the Spain squad – he grew up in Pamplona, Bilbao, after his parents migrated to Spain nearly 30 years ago.
WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: “The federation had been in contact,” Williams told BBC Sport Africa.
“I told my grandfather, who told me it would be a dream for him to see me in the national team jersey. He is 90. He said he doesn’t have long to live, but that he would like to see me play in a World Cup with the national team.
“When he told me those words, I didn’t have to think anymore.
“It’s a decision I’ve taken with my heart, regardless of what people may think or say – that maybe I am only playing for Ghana because they have qualified for the World Cup.”
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make.
“I had to consult with my family and loved ones, because the decision would impact me during the next years of my career – not only in sporting terms but also on a personal level, because it is much more than football.
AND WHAT IS MORE: Alongside Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Thomas Partey, and Daniel Amartey, Williams is one of the senior members of the Ghana squad.
“I’m almost one of the most veteran players. I’ve been playing in the first division for almost nine seasons now. I can bring the seniority I have to make a difference,” he said regarding what role he hopes to play in the camp.
“I think I can contribute a lot and help all my teammates to not only have a good World Cup, but also with all that is to come their way.
“I will try to help and give them advice, like I do with my younger brother.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Williams won only one senior cap with Spain – his country of birth – in 2016.
The first of his two caps for the Black Stars came during September’s friendly against Brazil before he earned his second against Nicaragua.
With 355 appearances and 80 goals for Athletic, the forward is expected to bring massive experience to Black Stars.
WHAT NEXT FOR WILLIAMS? Coach Otto Addo could hand him a start during their opening match against Portugal on December 24.
Ghana will engage Switzerland in a friendly match on November 17 before heading to the Middle East for the global tournament.