Four Columbus Crew SC Players Receive International Call-Ups
COLUMBUS - Columbus Crew SC today announced that four of its players have received international call-ups: Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Cristian Martinez and Justin Meram. Afful and Mensah are set to join Ghana ahead of a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying match against Ethiopia on November 18. Martinez is slated to join Panama for international friendlies against Honduras on November 16 and against Ecuador on November 20. Meram is set to join Iraq for a friendly contest against Bolivia on November 20.
Ghana is currently in Group F of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying stage, along with Ethiopia, Kenya and Sierra Leone. The top two teams of each group automatically qualify to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Cameroon. The Black Stars are set to face Ethiopia on Sunday, November 18 at Addis Ababa Stadium in Addis Ababa, Kenya, with the match marking Ghana's third match of the final group stage of qualification. Ghana is currently in third place of Group F with a record of 1-0-1.
Harrison Afful has earned 77 caps for Ghana, the most recent of which came in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Kenya on September 8 of this year. During the 2018 MLS regular season, Afful made 32 appearances (all starts) for Crew SC, scoring two goals and notching an MLS single-season career-high six assists. Jonathan Mensah has made 56 appearances for the Black Stars, with his last cap coming in a World Cup Qualifier against Congo on September 5, 2017. Mensah made 27 regular-season appearances (26 starts) for Crew SC in 2018, scoring one goal.
Panama is slated to face Honduras in an international friendly on Friday, November 16 at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, before facing Ecuador on Tuesday, November 20 in a friendly contest at Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City, Panama.
To date, Cristian Martinez has earned five caps for Los Canaleros, with the most recent coming as a substitute in a friendly match against South Korea on October 16 of this year. This year, Martinez made 14 regular-season appearances for Crew SC, providing two assists.
Iraq is scheduled to face Bolivia in a friendly contest on November 20 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in preparation for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup, also to be held in the United Arab Emirates from January 5 - February 1. The Lions of Mesopotamia are in Group D, along with Iran, Vietnam and Yemen. The top two teams of each group automatically advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Justin Meram has earned 28 caps for Iraq, most recently playing for the Lions of Mesopotamia in an international friendly against Saudi Arabia on October 15 of this year at King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. During the 2018 MLS regular season, Meram made 26 appearances (21 starts), while tallying two goals and four assists. Nine of Meram's regular-season appearances (seven starts) came with Crew SC, with the midfielder scoring one goal and providing one assist for the club.
Crew SC's current roster features seven players that have received a senior National Team call-up while with the club: Harrison Afful, Cristian Martinez, Jonathan Mensah, Justin Meram, Zack Steffen, Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes.
Crew SC returns to the pitch for the decisive Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, November 11 (7:30 p.m. ET / FS1, FOX Deportes, CD102.5 FM, English and Spanish audio broadcasts available on ColumbusCrewSC.com).
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