Thomas Partey: Arsenal midfielder delighted by competition in Ghana camp ahead of Mali and Qatar friendlies 

The 27-year-old talks about the team spirit ahead of the upcoming double-header of games 

New Arsenal signing Thomas Partey has been impressed by the intense competition for a starting place in Ghana’s camp ahead of the upcoming friendlies against Mali and Qatar.

Following his transfer to Premier League club Arsenal from Atletico Madrid on Monday, the 27-year-old joined the Black Stars team in Turkey on Tuesday, before training with the national team for the first time on Wednesday.

Ghana are set to take on continental counterparts Mali on Friday, three days to a meeting with 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar on Monday.

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“I feel good, I am so happy to be here again with the Black Stars,” as reported by the Ghana Football Association’s official website.

“About the guys, I think they are doing well, today I can see everyone is trying to do their best, trying to win the heart of the new coach and I think it’s good, we have a great competition and I think it’s better for the Black Stars.

“Today is not the first day of working with him [coach], you know we already played with him and I think he is doing all he can so that we will be comfortable and you know we won our last game and we will see what will happen against Mali and Qatar.”

Ghana’s squad in Turkey has been boosted by the likes of France-born Strasbourg defender Alexander Djiku, England-born Brentford winger Tariqe Fosu, Nordsjaelland prodigy Kamaldeen Sulemana and Amiens midfielder Emmanuel Lomotey, who have all been invited for the first time.

Friday’s match is set to test Ghana’s preparations for the resumption of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers in November.

“We are having good competition in the team; all the guys are training well.

“I think this will help the team to improve, everyone will be on their feet trying to win the heart of the coach and also give more pressure on those that think that they are comfortable, it will energise them to be on their toes to fight to maintain their place in the team.

“I am very happy; we have a lot of quality players in the team. There are so many Ghanaian players out there who are good but not all of us can be here. Fortunately, we are here because we won the heart of the coach. And I think it’s a good place to show what we have.

“We have to do our best, make sure we win all our matches like we did previously against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe and with this we will win back the hearts of many Ghanaians also.”

On his last time with the national team, Partey was on target as Ghana beat South Africa 2-0 in the Afcon qualifiers in November 2019.

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