Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ghana Greatest All-time 23 member team

Ghana 2010
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.  

CameroonNigeriaSouth Africa,
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
He 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
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
Carr was nicknamed "Black Cat".  He represented Ghana in 4 Africans' Nation Cup, winning both 1978 and 1982 edition. He is also Ghana's most capped player. 

RB:  John Paintsil
He 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
He 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
Mensah was capped 86 times. He played in two World Cup Finals, 2006 and 2010.  He played professionally for many clubs in England, Italy and France. Some of the biggers clubs included Sunderland, Lyon and Genoa. He was Ghana Player of the Year in 2006.

CB/CM: Kuuku Dadzie
He 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
He 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 Heart of Oak in Ghana.  

CM/LB/LW:  Kwadwo Asamoah
He was named Ghana Player of the Year twice consecutively for 2012 and 2013.  He was youth product of Torino, but he started his professional career with Udinese in 2008, and later moved to Juventus in 2012.  Since 2007, he is a regular member of the national team. He played in the WC Finals in 2010 and 2014.
Kwadwo Asamoah
DM: Sulley Muntari 
He spent his career playing in England and Italy.  While playing with Inter Milan, he won a Champions' league title in 2009-2010. He a,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 WC Finals, earning over 80 caps.

CM:  Michael Essien 
Essien was one of the best central midfielders in the world during his prime. He first became a star while playing for Lyon, where he won two Ligue 1 titles in two seasons.  Then, he moved to Chelsea.  Over there, he won a Champions' league, two Premier :League titles and four FA Cups.   Injuries limited his career. He also played with Real Madrid, AC Milan and Panathinaikos. Essien made his senior team debut in January 2002 and has represented his nation at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. Essien has also represented Ghana at the 2006 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.
Michael Essien
CM: Karim Abdul Razak
He 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
One of the most important 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 WC 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 
He was a legendary player in West Africa. 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
He 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.

LW:  Mohammed Ahmed "Polo"
He made his national team debut at the age of 17. He won the 1978 African Cup of Nations held in Ghana. He was a left winger and played for Hearts of Oak in the Ghana premier league. he also played in Dubai, UAE.

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 played for Asante Kotoko at home.

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 Afriyie
He was one of 200 African footballers noimnated by CAF for the title of the best African player of the last 50 years.  He won the African Cup of Nations in 1978. Opoku Afriyie played for Asante Kotoko for several years before signing for Hearts of Oak prior to ending his footballing career.

FW:  Opoku Nti
He 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. 

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
He is Ghana's all-time leading goal-scorer.  He played in three WC Finals: 2006, 2010 and 2014.  In 2010, Ghana reached the quarterfinal of the WC Finals in South Africa. Gyan played his club football with Udinese, Rennes, Sunderland, Al Ain FC, Shanghai SIPG, etc.
Asamoah Gyan
ST: Anthony Yeboah
He 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 earned 59 caps, Despite playing with Abedi Pele, Ghana failed to qualify for the WC Finals. He is the third highest goalscoring total in the nation's history behind Abedi Pele and Asamoah Gyan.
Tony Yeboah
Honorable Mention
Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kwasi Owusu, Hesse Odamtten and 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.

Squad Explantion 
--I did not have room for Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kwasi Owusu, Hesse Odamtten, Joe Odoi, Edward Boye
-- 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.
--  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.
-- I did not know much about John Nketia Yawson.
-- Anthony Yeboah and Abedi Pele never had any chemistry on the field together.  Asamoah Gyan led Ghana to their first ever WC Finals. '
-- 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.

Starting lineup
Formation: 4-3-3
My big question mark was the left wing forward position.  I have three great candidates for the position: Opoku Nti, Ibrahim Sunday and Muhammad Polo. 


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