Athletic Bilbao player Inaki Williams has chosen to play for the Black Stars after pledging his loyalty to Ghana national football team.
The Ghanian parents of Iaki raised their kids Iaki and Nico in the Basque region of Spain after an early emigration to the country.
The 28-year-old attacker played his whole football career in Spain, first for some clubs in the lower leagues before joining Athletic Bilbao of La Liga. While playing for Bilbao, he won two Spanish Super Cups in 2016 and 2021.
His performances also earned him a call-up to the Spanish national team, where he played in a friendly match. However, the forward thinks the best thing for him is to play for his ancestral country which is Ghana and he finally made the announcement about his decision on July 6, 2022.
“Every step we take forward has its own meaning. An evolution. A glance into the future leaves a trace itself. A legacy. My parents have raised me with values based on humility, respect, and love,” Iñaki said.
🇬🇭🖤 @ghanafaofficial pic.twitter.com/t5cSzOcIfB— IÑAKI WILLIAMS (@Williaaams45) July 5, 2022
According to Inaki Williams, his parents taught him how to embrace life in order to continue growing and evolving on a personal and professional level.
He continued; “That’s why I feel the moment has come for me to find my origins within myself and with Africa and Ghana which means so much to me and my family.
“I want to return a small part of everything it has given to us because Ghana has played a significant part in becoming who I am as a person, as a son, and as a brother.
“Today a new challenge begins. From now on, I will defend Ghana’s T-shirt with all my will whilst I give my best. I’m one of the Black Stars.”
The Ghana Football Association has endorsed the player’s decision and welcomed him through a post on their social media pages.
Williams is now eligible for upcoming calls-ups to the Black Stars. This is a big boost for the Black Stars technical staff, led by coach Otto Addo as they prepare for the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November.
Inaki Williams only played for Spain in a friendly match, hence his availability for Ghana was never in question.
According to FIFA regulations, players who haven’t participated in a World Cup or continental tournament and haven’t played more than three international matches for a single nation before turning 21 may swap nations.
Williams’ younger brother Nico, who also plays for Athletic Bilbao, has not yet declared his intention to represent Ghana.
The attacking player represents Spain’s U-21 national team. The two recently traveled to Ghana to meet with the Ghana Football Association and learn more about their heritage. The oldest brother, Inaki, displayed his pride in his ancestry in a message on social media. “My ancestors, my blood,” he wrote.
Williams is likely to be included in the Ghana World Cup team, where the Black Stars will compete against Uruguay, South Korea, and Portugal. He now holds the La Liga record for most consecutive appearances with 233 games after surpassing the previous record of 202 in October.