Tag: Ghanaian Football


Inspiring Ghanaians – Charles Kumi Gyamfi

C.K Gyamfi: Ghana’s greatest ever football manager

 

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Former Ghanaian coach Charles Kumi Gyamfi


 In a week where the greatest British and arguably the world’s greatest ever manager, Sir Alex Ferguson retired, I thought it apt to pay homage to Ghana’s and arguably Africa’s greatest ever football manager.

 

The man I speak of is Charles Kumi Gyamfi. After retiring as a player he became a coach, and career highlights include leading Ghana to the African Cup of Nations three times. At the time this made him the most successful coach in ACN history. Gyamfi was already setting records as a player when he became the first African player to play in Germany, having joined Fortuna Düsseldorf in 1960. Before that he enjoyed a distinguished career in Ghana playing for the likes of Asante Kotoko and Accra’s premier club, Hearts of Oak.

 

However it was his exploits as manager where he secured legendary status amongst Ghanaians. After retiring as a player it seemed the natural transition for Gyamfi to become coach after showing a number of the traits needed to be a manager during his playing days. Thus having taken over as coach in 1963 he secured his and Ghana’s first African title after a 3-0 win over Sudan in Ghana which made victory all the more sweeter.

 

But the real challenge was to come in 1965, when Gyamfi was faced with building a new squad to replace the aging first generation of stars to defend their status as champions of Africa in Tunisia. During the tournament Gymafi would often play with three strikers, with goals now coming from the likes of emerging Ghanaian stars such as Frank Odoi, Ben Acheampong and Osei Kofi providing as many as 12 goals in their 3 games as Ghana went on to beat hosts Tunisia 3-2 in extra time after being down 1-2. Ghana had become the first nation to successfully defend the African Cup of Nations, but Gyamfi would leave his post the same year.

 

He would return as manager in 1982 to lead Ghana into the African Nations cup in Libya. It would prove an inspired return as Ghana would go on to be crowned African champions again for the fourth time after beating the hosts Libya 7-6 on penalties in a pulsating match. This remains the last time Ghana have won the CAN title and cemented Gyamfi’s name in Ghana’s football history.

 

Always respected for his “old school” approach to the game, in January 2008 Gyamfi publicly lamented the modern obsession of players with money rather than the love of the game. He was quoted as saying, “Today’s players don’t know the value of the national jersey but my players were prepared to die for their country.” This statement is not far from the truth from a real Ghanaian and African legend who has garnered respect all over the continent from his peers. He achieved a feat that I don’t believe another Ghanaian coach will ever achieve again.

Charles Kumi Gyamfi Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

 

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

 

Ghana triumphs over Suda

Ghana grab vital win against Sudan in World Cup qualifier

 

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In their first match since the disappointing CAN 2013 tournament, Ghana made light work of Sudan by earning to a 4-0 victory in their World Cup qualifier at the Baba Yara stadium in Kumasi. Ghana needed to win convincingly to satisfy their fans and also close the gap on group leaders Zambia.

Before the match midfielder Sulley Muntari talked about how desperate the Black Stars are to reach Brazil 2014 to make up for the disappointment of CAN 2013. You could see the urgency in the Black Stars play as they begun the game on an aggressive note, giving little room to their Sudanese counterparts to operate.

It was striker, Asamoah Gyan who broke the deadlock on nineteen minutes before Mubarak Wakaso hit a half-volley to increase the lead. Which meant Ghana went into the break with a 2-0 lead. After half time, Sudan looked like the stronger side but failed to translate that into goals. They worked themselves into the game and Ramadan Agab should have scored when he was left with only the Ghana goalkeeper to beat but blasted his effort. The North Africans kept a little bit of pressure on the Black Stars as they took advantage of some slack passing.

Black Stars coach, Kwesi Appiah made some changes which saw the likes of Solomon Asante, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu and Emmanuel Frimpong joining action. The Black Stars still did not enjoy the majority of the in possession following the changes and resorted to counter attacks which produced two other goals; Spartak Moscow striker Abdul Majeed Waris got his name on the score sheet on his debut competitive match before playing a part in the fourth goal which was scored by Agyemang Badu.

The Black Stars remain second in Group D with six points, just one point behind leaders Zambia, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Lesotho. The group winners will advance to a decisive two-legged playoff that will determine Africa’s five representatives at next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Although not a brilliant performance Ghana were ruthless in front of goal and will need to be in their remaining games if they are to qualify for the final round playoff. Another win against Sudan in the return match in June should put the Black Stars in a good position going into the final two games.

By Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@kwesitheauthor)

What has happened to the Black Stars?

Are the Black Stars in Decline?

 

 

It’s been over a month since Ghana were acrimoniously dumped out of CAN 2013 by Burkina Faso. Since then coach Kwesi Appiah has been fiercely criticised by the media and fomer players alike – the Ayew brothers have announced their ‘temporary’ retirement from international football and left back John Pantsil found himself in trouble with the law.

There is no doubt the Black Stars are among the best teams in Africa but how long will that last? The dizzying heights of World Cup 2010 are now in the past and with the retirement of Jordan and Andre Ayew the team has lost two very good attacking options at a crucial time. What is more worrying is that the Ayew brothers have joined an illustrious list of Ghanaian players who have decided on an “early retirement”. Michael Essien, Kevin Prince Boateng, Asamoah Gyan and now the Ayew brothers are among Ghana’s best players to have made this decision. So you have to ask the question, is the Ghanaian FA doing enough to support the players and more importantly, how many more will decide on this course of action?

Of the current crop of players like Wakaso Mubarak and Christian Atsu who have impressed, there are serious questions over the team as a whole being able to deliver on the biggest occasions. Ghana’s elimination at the semi final stage against Burkina Faso at this year’s CAN was bitterly disappointing not least because with the Ivoirians already out this was arguably the Black stars best opportunity to win it in recent years.

Asamoah Gyan looks a shadow of his former self whilst Kwado Asamoah, a man of whom much was expected had a disappointing tournament. Now Ghana who go into a huge World Cup qualifier against Sudan on March 24 do so against the backdrop of off field troubles and huge pressure.

The Black stars are in desperate need of three points as they look to close the gap on group D leaders Zambia, who have a three point advantage with only group winners qualifying for the final round of qualification. Whilst it’s still early days the thought of Ghana not qualifying is unthinkable.

Kwesi Appiah has named his squad to face Sudan and recalled AC Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari whilst Emmanuel Frimpong of Fulham has been given his first cap. Alsi returning to the squad are Abdul Majeed Waris, who recently signed to Russian giants Spartak Moscow and Democratic Republic of Congo-based defender Yaw Frimpong.

 

Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset, Norway), Fatau Dauda (AshantiGold), Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professionals).

 

Defenders: Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Yaw Frimpong (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Richard Kissi Boateng (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Baba Abdul Rahman (Greuther Furth, Germany), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Isaac Vorsah (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Awal Mohammed (Maritzburg United, South Africa)

 

Midfielders: Emmanuel Frimpong (Fulham, England), Rabiu Mohammed (Evian, France), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan, Italy), Christian Atsu (FC Porto, Portugal), Wakaso Mubarak (Espanyol, Spain), Solomon Asante (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Albert Adomah (Bristol City, England)

 

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Abdul Majeed Waris (Spartak Moscow, Russia), David Accam (Helsingborg, Sweden), Mahatma Otoo (Hearts of Oak)

 

It’s make or break time for Ghana. Do you think they have what it takes to get through this difficult period or is this beginning of a downward spiral for the Black Stars?

 

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Ghana’s performance at AFCON 2013

Black Stars!!! Really???

 

 

Ghana is a West African country deeply in love with our football. It’s our basketball or NFL to the Americans; it’s our cricket to the West Indies and rugby to New Zealand. It’s our passion, the one and only time our great nation comes together as one and most recently over the last decade one of the few things which has bestowed upon us the bragging rights over our friendly but fierce West African neighbours Nigeria.

Over the last few tournaments, namely since the AFCON in 2008 till now, Ghana has been the only country to set a benchmark as to the heights African football is capable of reaching. 3 semi-finals and a final in the AFCON last four tournaments has proved our consistency whilst it had to take the forever hated Luiz Suarez to deny us of an inevitable place in the world cup semi-final which would have been a first by any African nation.

Upon all these stats and heights we’ve supposedly reached, why is it that the last time this great foot balling nation won a tournament was in 1982? Should we conceive that we won’t win one anytime soon? Should we (the people) not expect much from the team anymore? Because it seems we always one way or the other get our hearts broken, our dreams shattered and our bragging rights blown off target. Friday was meant to be seen as stepping stone to facing our rivals Nigeria in the final, a big West African derby in football terms. A chance not only to settle the football on the pitch, but to settle the long standing argument over who makes the best jollof rice, has the best culture, has the best skin tone (I think we’ve settled that one) and many more. But yet again, our dismal performance didn’t deserve even a semi-final place even though the Tunisian referee tried his outmost best to see us through with that outrageously biased performance himself which has seen him suspended today by CAF.

Overall, a shocking display and a truly barbaric demonstration in this year’s tournament which is forcing me to retire from watching Ghana play at least for the foreseeable future because I can’t bare the torment and the heartbreak anymore and I have a degree to pursue.

Some say it’s just football, get over it. But I tell you what, when it comes to Ghana, its more than football my friend, it’s our everything! God bless our homeland Ghana!

Medase!!

By Eddie Kojo

(@Ed_Edd_Nd_Eddie)

CAN 2013: The Blackstar team

Appiah names his Blackstars for CAN 2013

 

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Ghanaian national team coach, Kwesi Appiah has named a 26 man squad for the 2013 African nations next month in South Africa amid huge media scrutiny in Ghana. Whilst the majority of the squad inclusions were not a surprise, notable omissions came in the shape of former Captain John Mensah and striker Jordan Ayew.

Both Mensah and Ayew were in the CAN 2012 squad that bowed out at the semi-final stage to eventual winners Zambia. Their omissions ultimately come as a surprise as Ayew has been in decent form for his club Marseille whilst Mensah’s vast experience alone would be beneficial to the squad, especially the younger players.

Unsurprisingly there is no place for Michael Essien, who asked to be left out in order to focus on his club career. One player who was secured his place is Christian Atsu who has been in scintillating form for club (FC Porto) and country and Appiah and the rest of Ghana will be hoping this continues come January.

Appiah believes he has picked a squad good enough to win in South Africa next month, and he will trim the squad down to 23 players after a training camp in the United Arab Emirates, where Ghana will play friendlies against Tunisia and Egypt.

The full 26 man squad is as follows;

Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset, Norway), Fatau Dauda (AshantiGold), Daniel Adjei (Liberty Professionals)

Defenders: John Paintsil (Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Israel), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Kissi Boateng (Berekum Chelsea), Wakasu Mubarak (Espanyol, Spain), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Isaac Vorsah (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor, Turkey), Rashid Sumaila (Asante Kotoko), Awal Mohammed (Maritzburg United, South Africa).

Midfielders: Andre Ayew (Marseille, France), Christian Atsu (FC Porto, Portgal), Anthony Annan (Osasuna, Spain), Derek Boateng (Dnipro Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine), Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Albert Adomah (Bristol City, England), Rabiu Mohammed (Evian, France), Solomon Asante (Berekum Chelsea).

Strikers: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Emmanuel Clottey (Esperance, Tunisia), Boakye Yiadom (Sassuolo, Italy), Yahaya Mohammed (Amidaus Professionals).

Do you think Appiah was right to leave out Jordan Ayew and John Mensah? And can this squad deliver Ghana’s first nations cup title since 1982? We’ve waited long enough!

Leave your comments below.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Here we go again!

 Ghana qualify for yet another CAN finals

Ghana booked themselves a place at CAN 2013 with a workmanlike performance against Malawi in Lilongwe.  With Ghana leading 2-0 from the first leg they were overwhelming favourites to go through but they were made to work for their win with the only goal of the game coming from Afriyie Acquah on his international debut.

Ghana started the game very well taking just three minutes to get into the lead after the Parma midfielder applied the finish to a well-worked short corner from Andre Ayew. Ghana went on to control the rest of the early stages of the first half, but had to rely on Adam Kwarasey’s reflexes to prevent being pegged back.

Both teams then went through a period where they threatened the goalkeepers with dangerous efforts. Asamoah Gyan was presented with a number of chances to double the lead first from a free kick which the goalkeeper did well to get to before he failed to connect with a well-placed Ayew cross as the Black Stars went into half time with a one goal lead. Christian Atsu also had an effort on the Malawi goal which was comfortably saved.

The second half almost started like the first with Ghana seemingly in control but Atsu could not get his effort on target after getting past a couple of players. It took some good positional awareness from defender Isaac Vorsah; however, to prevent the Flames from going in front as he diverted a goal bound header wide before John Boye made the clearance.

Malawi continued to rally but the Black Stars saw out the game to book a place in South Africa for the 2013 African Cup of Nations. Overall Ghana should be pleased in the manner of the qualification which has seen the emergence of two players (Christian Atsu & Afriye Acquah) tipped for great things. No doubt Ghana will be amongst the favourites for the competition in South Africa but will need to learn from mistakes of earlier this year, when again tipped for glory they crashed out at the semi-finals to eventual winner Zambia.  Here we go again!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@KwesiTheAuthor)

Analysis of the Black Star’s football match

Ghana V Malawi: Christian Atsu shines as Ghana edge closer to CAN 2013 Finals

 

The Black Stars of Ghana moved closer to a place at CAN 2013 with a 2-0 win over Malawi in Accra in the final round first leg of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Asamoah Gyan captained the side in his first appearance since returning from a self-imposed break but it was Christian Atsu of FC Porto who stole the show with a fine performance.

He gave Ghana the perfect start, settling any nerves with the opener after just eight minutes to celebrate his first home match for Ghana. The Porto player tapped in from a close range shot from Olympique Marseille’s Andre Ayew. Although the Black Stars were in the lead with Atsu creating several chances, Malawi to their credit defended with vigilance to ensure that they went  into the half time interval with the same score line at one nil.

In the second half With Malawi sitting deep and seeking to soak up Ghana pressure, Ghana were made to work for their second, which fell the way of Anthony Annan only six minutes after the interval. Annan set the stadium alight with a 20-yard shot to make it 2-0 to the Black Stars.

Malawi’s cause was not helped when James Sangala was dismissed in the latter stages, and they now face a big ask if they are to reach the Cup of Nations finals for only the third time in their history.

Meanwhile look in a strong position to qualify for CAN 2013 and the performance of Atsu will come as a boost to coach Kwesi Appiah as he considers his midfield options. Atsu showed just why clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur were interested in signing him this summer.

The second leg will take place between 12-14 October 2012 in Malawi. In the Black Stars we trust!

Until next time…

Continuing the sports theme Me Firi Ghana presents a night of cultured debate when The Future of Sport Debate forum takes place on Friday 21 September 2012 at 6pm at the Chelsea Theatre, 7 World’s End Place, Kings Road, London, SW10 0DR. If you are Ghanaian, have a love for Ghana and are you passionate about the Future of Ghana. Then you really need to be here. For more information and tickets log on to – http://futureofghana.eventbrite.com

 

Do you have an OPINION, IDEA or BUSINESS that can help shape the Future?

There is only one place to be…

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Something about football you didn’t know…

Just a reminder:  The world’s first Black Footballer came from Ghana!

 

Here at Me Firi Ghana we of course like to celebrate all things Ghanaian and nothing brings us more joy than showcasing true pioneers.

Well, how many of you knew that the first ever black footballer originated from Ghana? Yep, you heard right, Arthur Wharton is that such person. Born in Ghana in 1865, when it was known as the Gold Coast, he sailed to Britain as a trainee missionary but sensed a different vocation after winning the Amateur Athletic Association‘s 100-yard sprint at Stamford Bridge in a world record 10 seconds.

He was first signed as a semi professional player with Preston North End in 1886, as goalkeeper. His highpoint with Preston was to make it to the FA Cup semi finals in 1887 where they lost 3-1 to West Bromwich Albion. There was speculation at the time that Arthur was good enough to play for England, but he was never considered for the position by the FA, due in part to the racial prejudice of the time.

He was a multi-talented sportsman, and football became his main interest and he was Preston’s goalkeeper in the year before their unbeaten 1888-89 season. He was also understudy to the celebrated William ‘Fatty’ Foulke at Sheffield United, and played for Darlington. When Wharton died in 1930, he was buried in an unmarked grave, but a campaign to recognise his achievements, led by his grand-daughter Sheila Leeson, the Football Unites Racism Divides group and the Arthur Wharton Foundation, has gathered pace. It is incredible to think that 121 years ago an African footballer was playing his trade in England. Thus in a season where racism has reared its ugly head on a couple of occasions, it is refreshing to reflect on the impact a black footballer was having on the English game all those years ago.

Arthur Wharton paved the way for the Viv Andersons and John Barnes of this world who were among the first black players to play for the England national team. His was riches to rags story. His mother was a member of the Gold Coast royal family, and they paid for him not only to come to England but to be educated privately. He was supposed to train as a missionary but soon realised he was an exceptional athlete. What a story!

Therefore Mr Arthur Wharton; Me Firi Ghana salutes you!

Ben JK Anim-Antwi(Kwesi)

Ghana Football News…

Stevanovic sacked!  Is it now time to go Home-grown?

 

Former Black Stars coach Goran Stevanovic

It has long been the opinion of many Ghanaians since the departure of Claude Leroy as Head coach in 2008 that the Ghanaian FA should look towards a Ghanaian coach to lead the Black Stars to glory. Of Course this didn’t happen and the Serbian Milovan Rajevac took over and led the Blackstars to their first World Cup quarter final. Now Less than two years after he quit as manager another Serbian has left the Black Stars.

The writing was on the wall for Goran Stevanovic and his sacking six weeks after he failed to lead the Black Stars to African Nations Cup glory, hardly comes as a surprise, although he claims it was. After plenty of delay and deliberation, the Ghanaian FA (GFA) eventually chose to dismiss the Serb with ten months left on his contract.

A statement from the Ghana FA read: “The Ghana Football Association has parted company with Goran Stevanovic as the Black Stars coach today. This comes after three weeks of extensive meetings to ensure that the best decision is taken in the best interest of the nation.”

Assistant coach Akwesi Appiah has been asked to take temporary charge until a permanent successor is found. Many people will argue that the GFA should give him the job on a permanent basis – such is the opinion amongst Ghanaians of selecting a home grown coach. Ghana have not had a Ghanaian coach on a full time basis since 2002 when Emmanuel Akwasi Afranie took up the reigns and even then his tenure only lasted a year.

Ghana’s renaissance as an international footballing power was reignited in 2006 when another Serbian Ratomir Dujković led the blackstars to their first ever World Cup appearance. Since then Ghana have not done too badly with foreign coaches reaching the semi final of CAN 2008, the final of CAN 2010, and of course the World Cup quarter final 2010 all with foreigners at the helm. However the older generation will point to our last CAN championship win in1982 when legendary Ghanaian coach, Charles Kumi Gyamfi led Ghana to glory. This made him the most successful coach in CAN history, having won it three times in total.

However in spite of this many will say it’s time for a change. If Ghana are to appoint a home-grown coach, among the names in contention will be Akwasi Appiah, Silah Tetteh & Herbert Addo (who was in the running two years ago).The GFA aim to appoint Stevanovic’s successor  in time for  when the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign begins against Lesotho in June. Only time will tell who that person will be.

Do you think the GFA were right to sack Stevanovic and is it time the Black Stars are appointed a Ghanaian coach? Will this change our fortunes on the field and enable us to win that elusive title?

Leave your comments below.

Ben JK Anim-Antwi (Kwesi)