Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ghana Greatest All-time 23 member team

Ghana 2010
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.  
Africa All-Time Team GhanaCameroonNigeriaSouth AfricaTunisia
AlgeriaMoroccoEgyptIvory CoastSenegal,
North Africa
The Rest of Africa(excluding Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Nigeria and North Africa).

Although Ghana did not qualify for the World Cup Finals until 2006, they have been a major African power for many decades.  They won the Africa Cup of Nations four times and has been runner-up 4 more times.  Before the WC Finals in 2006, they were best remembered for winning the 1991 U-17 World Cup in Italy.  With the team as backbone, they went on to win a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics.  Meanwhile, Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah were starring in Europe at the same time.  So there were high expectations for them at he World Cup Qualifiers.  However, the Black Stars failed to qualify for the WC Finals in 1994.  In 2010, Ghana made a run in South Africa before being stopped by a controversal action by Luis Suarez and then, losing on penalty shootout in the quarterfinal.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.
African Nations' Cup Winner 1965
GK: Robert Mensah
Robert Mensah played for Asante Kotoko SC and won African Club Cups in 1970.  He was also a runner-up with the Ghana squad for the 1968 African Cup of Nations and represented Ghana at the 1968 Summer Olympics.He was controversial figure.  He sometimes would would mock opposition players by reading a newspaper whilst goal-tending.  He was murdered in 1971 by a fan.

GK: Richard Kingson
Richard Kingson was the starting goalkeeper at World Cup in 2010 where Ghana reached the quarterfinal. For club football,  he played for several clubs in Turkey, for Hammarby in Sweden, and in England for Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and Blackpool, who released him at the end of the 2010–11 season.  His brother also played for Ghana.

GK: Joe Carr
Joe Carr was nicknamed "Black Cat".  He represented Ghana in 4 Africans' Nation Cup, winning both 1978 and 1982 edition. He did not play in the 1982 edition. He is also Ghana's most capped player.  For domestic football, Joe Carr played for Sekondi Hasaacas F.C. and Asante Kotoko in Ghana.  became a goalkeeper coach after his retirement. 

RB:  John Paintsil
John Paintsil is the all-time cap record holder for an outfielder.  He played professionally in Israel and England.  He played 5 seasons in the Premiership in England.  He played club football for Berekum Arsenal, Liberty Professionals, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Tel Aviv, West Ham United, Fulham, Leicester City, Santos and Maritzburg United.

CB: Samuel Kuffour
Samuel Kuffour was probably Ghana's most famous defender.  He spent 11 seasons with Bayern Munich, winning almost everything.  He won the Champions' League in 2001. He was twice runnerup for the African Player of the Year and won Ghana Player of Year in 1998, 1999 and 2001. He was capped 59 times.  He played in the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany. His youth career started with Torino in Italy.  He also played for Roma, Ajax and Livorno. 
Samuel Kuffour
CB/RB:  John Mensah
John Mensah was capped 86 times between 2001 and 2012. He played in two World Cup Finals: 2006 and 2010.  He started his junior rank with Bologna in Italy. He played professionally for many clubs in England, Italy and France. Some of the biggers clubs included Rennes, Sunderland, Lyon and Genoa.   He was Ghana Player of the Year in 2006.

CB/CM: Kuuku Dadzie
Kuuku Dadzie was a star defender for Sekondi Hasaacas and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.  He was a member of the Black Stars that won the African Cup of Nations for keeps in 1978.   He also captained the national team to the African Cup of Nations in Nigeria in 1980 and the squad which qualified for the Moscow Olympic Games in the same year.

 CB:  Charles Addo Odametey
Charles Addo Odametey won two African Cup of Nations in 1963 and 1965.  He shares the record for the most appearances in a final of the African Nations Cup having played for the winning team in 1963 and 1965 (as captain) and in the 1968 final.  He played for Ghana in the Olympic games of 1964 and 1968.  He played for Heart of Oak in Ghana.  

CM/LB/LW:  Kwadwo Asamoah
Kwadwo Asamoah was named Ghana Player of the Year twice consecutively for 2012 and 2013.  He was youth product of Torino in Italy, but he started his professional career with Udinese in 2008, and later moved to Juventus in 2012.  He made it to Serie A Team if the Year in 2014. In 2018, he joined Inter Milan. Since 2008, he is a regular member of the national team. He played in the World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014. He had 69 caps.
Kwadwo Asamoah
DM: Sulley Muntari 
Sulley Muntari spent his career playing in England and Italy.  While playing with Inter Milan, he won a Champions' league title in 2009-2010 under Jose Mourinho and two Serie A title. He also played with Sunderland, AC Milan and Portsmouth.  He was also part of the Portsmouth team that won the FA Cup in 2007–08. He played in three World Cup Finals, earning over 80 caps.

CM:  Michael Essien 
Michael Essien was one of the best central midfielders in the world during his prime. He first became a star while playing for Lyon.  Then, he moved to Chelsea.  Over there, he won a Champions' league, two Premier League titles and four FA Cups.  He also played with Real Madrid, AC Milan and Panathinaikos. Essien earned 58 caps in total.  He had represented his nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. Essien has also represented Ghana at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.
Michael Essien
CM: Karim Abdul Razak
 Karim Abdul Razak was one of Ghana's greatest players.  In 1978, he won the African Cup of Nations and then, became the African Player of the Year.  He was voted as one of the CAF's 30 best footballers of the previous 50 years in 2007.  He played for several clubs in the 1970s and 1980s, notably the local club Asante Kotoko and the New York Cosmos in the defunct North American Soccer League (NASL).  

CM/DM: Stephen Appiah
Stephen Appiah was one of the most important Ghanian players of his generation. He was a part of the 1995 World Cup Under-18 team winning team that put Ghana on the map.  He captained Ghana's team at the World Cup Finals in 2006.   He started with Hearts of Oak.  Then, he spent 10 seasons playing in Italy, and he also played in Turkey and Serbia.  In Italy, he played for Udinese, Juventus, Parma, etc.
Stephen Appiah
FW/RW Baba Yara 
Baba Yara was a legendary player in West Africa and known as "the King of Wingers of West Africa ".  He was Ghana Player of the Year, twice. For domestic football, he played for Asante Kotoko, the Real Republikans  He scored 49 times in 51 caps for Ghana.  His career was cut short by a car accident.  He died in 1969.  The largest stadium in Ghana was named after him. 

LW/LWB: Ibrahim Sunday
Ibrahim Sunday was the first Ghanian to win the African Player of the Year when he won it in 1971.  He won the African Champions of Cup with Asante Kotoko in 1971.  He moved to Werder Bremen in 1975, but he barely played over there.  However, he is still the first African player to play in the Bundesliga.

LW:  Mohammed Ahmed "Polo"
Mohammed Ahmed "Polo" made his national team debut at the age of 17. He won the 1978 African Cup of Nations held in Ghana as a member of the national team. He was a left winger and played for Hearts of Oak in the Ghana premier league. He was a member of the team known as "Fearsome Four". He also played in Dubai, UAE for Al Wasl in the 1980's.

LW: Andre Ayew
Ayew is the son of Abedi Pele.  He began his career in Ghana, playing for Nania. In 2005, he signed with his father's former club, Marseille. He made over 200 appearances and winning consecutive Trophée des champions and Coupe de la Ligues in both 2010 and 2011. He also played for Swansea. In 2011 Ayew was named the BBC African Footballer of the Year and Ghanaian Footballer of the Year. He represented Ghana at the WC Finals in 2010 and 2014.

AM/SS/RW:  Osei Kofi
He was was nicknamed the 'wizard dribbler' because of his ball dribbling skills.  He won the African Cup of Nations in 1965, where he was the joint top-scorer.  He was the third highest scorer in the 1968 Africa Cup of Nations. Osei Kofi was called the 'wizard dribbler' because of his ball dribbling skills. He played for Asante Kotoko at home. He later became a priest.

AM/SS: Abedi Pele
Abedi Pele was one of the greatest African player ever.  He was best remembered for his career with Marseille, where he won the first ever Champions' League title for a French club.  He was African Player of the Year for three straight years between 1991 and 1993. He was voted 3rd as the African Player of the Century. He had 77 caps for Ghana. He was a member of the team that won African Cup of Nations in 1982. He was at one point the country's all-time top scorer.
Abedi Pele
FW:  Opoku Nti
Known as "Zico", Opoku Nti was Ghana's top player before Abedi Pele.  He won the African Cup of Nations in 1982.  He had a brief career in Switzerland.  Opoku Nti scored the  match-winning goal that helped Asante Kotoko winning the 1983 Africa Clubs Championship. He came second as the African Player of the Year the same year.

FW/RW:  George Alhassan
He won the African Cup of Nations in home soil in 1978. Four years later,  he helped Ghana regain the title successfully, being the top scorer of the tournament with four goals. At the club level, Alhassan played for Hearts of Oak in the domestic football league. He later played in UAE before joining Al-Ahly in Egypt for a short period only due to his long term injury problems.

ST Asamoah Gyan
Asamoah Gyan is Ghana's all-time leading goal-scorer.  He played in three World Cup Finals: 2006, 2010 and 2014.  With 6 goals, he is the top African goalscorer in the history of the World Cup. Gyan has also represented Ghana in seven Africa Cup of Nations. In 2010, Ghana reached the quarterfinal of the World Cup Finals in South Africa. Gyan played his club football with Udinese, Rennes, Sunderland, Al Ain FC, Shanghai SIPG, etc.
Asamoah Gyan
ST: Anthony Yeboah
Anthony Yeboah enjoyed a successful career in Europe and was one of the best African players in the 1990's.  His most successful period was spent with Eintracht Frankfrut where he was the Bundesliga back-to-back top scorers twice in five seasons. He also played for Leeds United. He earned 59 caps, Despite playing with Abedi Pele, Ghana failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals. He is the third highest goalscoring total in the nation's history behind Abedi Pele and Asamoah Gyan.
Tony Yeboah
Honorable Mention
Anue Kofie, John Baker, Owusu Mensah, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kwasi Owusu, Hesse Odamtten, Joe Odoi, John Eshun, Dogo Moro, John Nketia Yawson, Edward Aggey-Finn, Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, Malik Jabir, Nana Osei Kofi, Wilberforce Mfum, Albert Asase, Adolf Armah, John Eshun.

Squad Explantion 
-- Abedi Pele won the African Player of the Year four times. He is probably the greatest Ghanian player.  Ibrahim Sunday and Karim Abdul Razak also won the award.  Samuel Kuffour, Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and André Ayew have won the BBC African Player of the Year.
-- Anthony Yeboah and Abedi Pele never had any chemistry on the field together.  Yeboah was Bundesliga top scorer: 1992–93, 1993–94 while Abedi Pele was the best African player in the world.  They would have been a force to reckon with.  They never won anything for Ghana. They never qualified for the World Cup Finals.  
-- Ghana almost reached the semifinal of the 2010 World Cup Finals.  From that team, I took Asamoah Gyan, Stephen Appiah, Sulley Muntari, Andre Ayew and Kwadwo Asamoah.  Michael Essien who was probably the best known player of that generation missed the WC Finals in South Africa.
-- Samuel Kuffour is probably one of Africa's greatest defender.  He is the only member of the 1991 U17 World Cup Winning Team selected.  
-- I did not have room for Kevin-Prince Boateng, Hesse Odamtten, Joe Odoi, Edward Boye and Kwasi Owusu.
-- Kevin-Prince Boateng had played for big clubs.  He also contributed to Ghana's run at the WC Finals in 2010.  However, Ghana has many great attackers.  He only made honourable mention.
-- Ibrahim Sunday did not enjoy a good European career, but he was the first Ghanian to play in the Bundesliga in an era where African players had limited opportunity to play in Europe.
-- Anue Kofie and John Baker were seriously consider for the 3rd keeper spot.  Anue Kofie shared duties with Robert Mensah for the national team and later played for NY Cosmos. I found limited information on Baker.  Owusu Mensah was the hero of Ghana's 1982 African Nations Cup victory.
-- I also considered Hans Sarpei, Frank Amankwah and Dan Oppong as rightabcks.  I knew nothing about Dan Oppong. 
-- I selected two modern centerbacks with great European club careers along with two other centerbacks from the earlier generations.  I had no room for Dogo Moro, who was a sweeper.
-- Nil Lamptey actually played well with Anderlecht and PSV Eindhoven.  He led Ghana to win the 1991 FIFA U-17 World Championship, which put Ghana or even African football on the map.  I toyed with the idea of giving him an honourable mention. However, his choice would have the most controversial ever on my blog.
--  Kwadwo Asamoah had plenty of European experience.  He could also play in many different positions. I took him over Akwasi Appiah and Ofei Ansah.
-- I did not know much about John Nketia Yawson.
-- Wilberforce Mfum was a hero of 1963 African Nations' Cup.  He also played for NY Cosmos, but before the ear of Pele and Franz Beckenbauer.  He only made my honorable mention.
-- Kwasi Owusu was the all-time leading scorer for Ghana.  However, he was not selected.  He was  excluded from the list of Ghana’s 55 finest footballers compiled by Primeval Media and F&B Media Group to mark the Ghana's 60 Years.
-- Opoku Afriyie was on the original team.  

Starting lineup
Formation: 4-3-3
My big question mark was the left wing forward position.  I have four great candidates for the position: Andre Ayew, Opoku Nti, Ibrahim Sunday and Muhammad Polo. I played Essien as a rightback so that I could field Karim Abdul Razak, Slley Muntari and Stephen Appiah.


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