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Four Columbus Crew SC Players Called Up for International Duty

The Black & Gold will miss several key pieces for at least one match.

Columbus Crew SC today announced the call up of four of its players for international duty.

Right back Harrison Afful (Ghana), midfielder Tony Tchani (Cameroon), winger Justin Meram (Iraq) and rookie midfielder Rodrigo Saravia (Guatemala) were all called in by their respective federations.

Per the Crew SC press release...

"Afful is slated to join Ghana ahead of two matches, with the first taking place in Accra against Rwanda as part of 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification (September 3) and the second a friendly against Russia in Moscow (September 6). Ghana has qualified for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations as the winners of Group H and closes out qualification with this match against Rwanda. Afful has earned 61 caps all-time for the Black Stars, with his last coming in a start against Mauritius on June 5 as part of AFCON qualification.

Meram, meanwhile, begins Asian Football Confederation Third Round qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Iraq by joining the team ahead of matches against Australia in Perth (September 1) and against Saudi Arabia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (September 6). The Third Round of AFC qualification features two groups of six teams each in a double round-robin format, with the top two teams in each group directly qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the third-place team advancing to the Fourth Round. Iraq is in Group B along with Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. Meram has earned 18 caps for Iraq in his career, with the last coming in an international friendly against Qatar on August 8.

Saravia joins Guatemala as part of its qualification efforts for the 2018 FIFA World Cup ahead of two matches against Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain (September 2) and against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Guatemala City (September 6). Guatemala is currently in third place in Group C of CONCACAF Fourth Round qualification, one point behind second-place Trinidad and Tobago. The top two teams from the group, which is currently led by the United States, advance to the Fifth Round, commonly known as the Hexagonal.

Finally, Tchani joins Cameroon, which plays a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Gambia (September 3) and a friendly against Gabon (September 6), with both contests taking place in Limbe. Cameroon has clinched qualification to the final tournament by virtue of winning Group M. Tchani has previously earned one cap for Cameroon, on March 26 against South Africa as part of AFCON qualification."