FEATURE: Was Ghana a great Football Nation or it’s a great Football Nation?

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On March 19, 1982, the Black Stars defied all odds to beat Libya, the host nation 7-6 on penalty shootout to win the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations trophy in front of their intimidating home fans
On March 19, 1982, the Black Stars defied all odds to beat Libya, the host nation 7-6 on penalty shootout to win the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations trophy in front of their intimidating home fans

A country is known to be a great football nation by either the great players it produces or the number of major trophies it has won or both.

Undoubtedly, Ghana is known to be one of the greatest football nations in Africa looking at the great players it has produced and the trophies won by the nation in the past decades.

Unfortunately, the Black Stars of Ghana have not won any major trophy since 1982.
The black satellites recently won the U-20 Afcon championship, first of its major since the 2009 U-20 FIFA World Cup in Egypt where they became the first and only African country to have won the trophy so far.

At club level, many thought that both Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak were top professional clubs in Africa, but unfortunately, as at April 2020, Football Database under FIFA came out with the list of professional football clubs we have in the world but there was no single Ghanaian club in the top 50 in African continent not to talk of the whole world.

Since 1992 when Abedi Pele won the CAF player of the year award no Ghanaian has managed to repeat that. In my opinion this should be a challenge to our current and the upcoming players to bring back the award to Ghana. Ghana has had good players with great potential who have failed to live up to expectation while some of them still play for the country but have not been able to win Ghana a trophy.

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A country is not just great by winning trophies, but also producing world class players for the game of football. Arguable, Ghana has produced the most promising but wasted talents in Africa. Players who tipped to become players like, Abedi Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi failed. Some of those players include Christian Astu, Ghana’s own version of Lionel Messi failed to live up to expectations after winning the AFCON player of the tournament in South Africa 2017, Dominic Adiyiah who won both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards in the U-20 FIFA world Cup in Egypt 2009, Ebenezer Assifuah, 2013 U-20 World Cup Golden Boot winner with 6 goals as well as Clifford Abogye, Bronze Ball winner in the same tournament.

Players like Toni Kroos, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba and E. Halaand have all become football icons after excelling at the U-20 world cup but Ghana has failed to develop such talented players from the youth stage which also contributes to the long wait of winning the AFCON for over 30 years now.
Fortunately, three talents have been discovered in Ghana (Mohammed Kudus of Ajax, Kamaldeen Sulemana of FC Nordjesland and Mohammed Abdul Fatawu, Mauritania U-20 AFCON player of the tournament, 2021).

Egypt, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Cameroon are undoubtedly still a great football nations due to their current players and the players they have had for the past decade. Players like Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast, Mohammed Salah of Egypt have all been able to achieve some glories with their respective countries, club levels and individually.

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For the senior national team, the major achievement in recent times has been a quarterfinal finish at the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup, only the third time an African country has managed that feat after Cameroon (1990) and Senegal (2002). In my opinion to this, it’s the only achievement any Ghanaian player in those days can boast of in the face of the players mentioned above.

This is 16-year old Abedi Pele when he was playing for Real Tamale United
This is 16-year old Abedi Pele when he was playing for Real Tamale United

I am of no doubt the current players can still make Ghana a great football nation once again if we are able to structure things well. However I believe that, the players alone cannot make a great football nation, Ghana has a lot of technical problems to be fixed.

Story by: Sulemana Mohammed Nazeef/sports24online.com

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