Ghana’s Wollacott gets World Cup trip after injury

DOHA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Ghana goalkeeper Joe Wollacott is said to still be given a chance to take part in the World Cup – but only to encourage his team-mates after he was ruled out of the tournament in Qatar due to a gruesome injury.

The English-born, who plays for Charlton Athletic in League One, broke a finger warming up at Burton Albion last weekend and will not play again for at least six weeks.

The injury came just hours after Richard Ofori, his rival for the Ghana side’s number one shirt, was out with a knee problem, leaving the Black Stars with a goalkeeping crisis.

Third choice Lawrence Ati-Zigi, based in St Gallen in Switzerland, will take over but Wollacott will be on hand to provide support following successful surgery.

“He had an operation which went very well and now the rehabilitation process is beginning,” Charlton manager Ben Garner told the club’s website on Saturday.

“There’s not much you can really do; it will just be about railing it and keeping it mobile.

“He has yet to go out and join Ghana and have that experience. He was instrumental in making it happen so he totally deserves to be out there with the squad and experience the ups and downs of a World Cup.”

Garner said Wollacott, 26, who started at his hometown club Bristol City but made his league breakthrough at Swindon Town, has been denied a wonderful opportunity.

“I was so disappointed in him over the weekend and for a few days if I’m being honest. After seeing Jojo’s progress over the past 16 months or so, it’s been incredible. The talent was there, he just needed the opportunity and he grabbed those opportunities with both hands.

“He’s had a fantastic season in the second division, he’s become Ghana’s number one, he’s had a really strong start in life in the first division here with us and then he’s close to the World Cup, that’s a big blow for him.

“What I can say, knowing him, is that he has a fantastic mentality. He’ll come back stronger, he’ll come back better and he’ll move on from the disappointment and use it as fuel for the rest of his career.”

Wollacott made his debut for Ghana in World Cup qualifiers a year ago when Ofori was injured and saved for the Black Stars in the Africa Cup of Nations finals earlier this year.

Ghana will start their World Cup season against Portugal in Group H on Thursday in Doha.

Editing by Clare Fallon

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