Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako-The Writer

By Ken Bediako

The football sector ends the category of sporting legends recommended by the seven-body committee set up in 2004 by then Sports Minister Kwadwo Baah Wiredu to identify those legends for honours.

As already pointed out it was the result of the recommendations that we now have the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, Azumah Nelson Sports Complex, Hathiramani Sports Hall and Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra.

Please note that the Accra Stadium was named after Sports administration supremo Ohene Djan but sadly some ruffians, ostensibly backed by some faceless litigants, forcibly removed the Ohene Djan signboard from the Stadium. End of story.

This writer, who was incidentally member of the committee, has over the past weeks tried to remind the nation of the need to honour her past heroes especially when Ghana is welcoming the whole of Africa to the 13th Africa Games next year.

I have dealt with the various sports disciplines that have put Ghana on the world map and I end the series with our most patronised sport which is football.

Chris Briandt, the first captain of the national football team, leads the pack. The tall and elegant soft-spoken gentleman captained the team to several victories and was one of the first top Ghanaian players to train as coach.

Next is C. K. Gyamfi, founding member of the Black Stars, who later on became the first Ghanaian coach to train the Black Stars to win the Africa Cup for the first time in 1963. He was also head coach when Ghana won the Africa Cup for the fourth time in Libya 1982.

Third on the list is James Adjei, Asante Kotoko’s brilliant forward with intricate skills. He was a member of the national team that toured Britain in 1951.

Number four is Baba Yara. The reputed king of wingers. He was the most fascinating winger in West Africa in his days. He played regularly for the national team, Asante Kotoko and the model club Real Republikans. A horrible motor accident he had with his Republikans team mates in 1963 left him paralysed. He died in 1969.

5. Edward Aggrey-Fynn; Captain of the victorious Black Stars team that won the Africa Cup for the first time in 1963. He was one of the greatest midfielders the nation has produced. He played top class football for Sekondi Hasaacas, Accra Hearts of Oak and Real Republikans.

6.Edward Acquah; The man with the sputnik shot. An international striker of repute. He led Sekondi Eleven Wise to their first National League triumph in 1960 after the team had placed last the previous season.

7.Wilberforce Mfum; popularly known as bulldozer, he was one of the most forceful strikers the nation has produced. He was a top performer for Asante Kotoko and the Black Stars and once captained both teams. He is famed for breaking the net with a bullet shot in an international match at Accra Stadium between Ghana and Tunisia in 1967.

8.Addoquaye Laryea; A top class international goalkeeper of Accra Hearts of Oak fame. He was affable both on and off the pitch

9 Addo Odametey; captain of the victorious Black Stars that retained the Africa Cup in Tunisia in 1965. He was one of the greatest central defenders the nation has produced.

10.Dodoo Ankrah; Affectionately called Magic Hands in his hey days. He started big time football with Accra Great Olympics before joining model club Real Republikans. He was for years the regular goalkeeper for the Black Stars.

11 Osei Kofi; The pint-sized amazing dribbler affectionately called “Soccer Show Boy” and “one-man symphony orchestra”. He started big time soccer with Accra Hearts of Oak before going to Asante Kotoko where his partnership with Wilberforce Mfum was phenomenal.

12.John Naawu: A courageous international goalkeeper of Accra Great Olympics fame known in his heydays as “Rubberman”. He kept the posts when Ghana retained the Africa Cup in 1965 in Tunisia.

13 Robert Mensah; Rated Africa’s number one goalkeeper in the 70s. He featured regularly for both club and Country. He inspired Asante Kotoko to their first Africa Cup triumph in Kinshasa in January 1971.

14. Ibrahim Sunday; A great international midfielder who played regularly for both the Black Stars and his club Asante Kotoko. He captained Asante Kotoko to become the first Ghanaian club to be Africa champions in Kinshasa 1971. He made history by coaching Kotoko to win the Africa Cup for the second time in 1983.

15.Kwasi Owusu; Affectionately called “Power house”, the strong running striker was one of the leading goal scorers the nation has produced. He played regularly for the Black Stars and Bofoakwa Tano. His partnership with Dan Owusu, another prolific goal scorer, made the Sunyani based club a real formidable top division league club.

16 John Eshun; The gentleman central defender of Sekondi Eleven Wise fame. He captained both the Black Stars and Sekondi Eleven Wise to many important victories. He was selected as one of the best defenders in Africa in 1971.

17. Mohammed Polo; Affectionately called “Dribbling Magician” of Accra Hearts of Oak fame. He was easily one of the most exciting players in the 70s. A great crowd puller, he was in the Black Stars squad that won the Africa Cup for keeps in 1978.

18. Abdul Razak; the Golden Boy of Ghana football and midfielder of repute in the 70s. He was voted the best player in Africa in 1978. Now an international coach of good standing.

19. Awuley Quaye; A reliable international central defender of Accra Great Olympics fame. He captained the victorious Black Stars team that won the Africa Cup for keeps in 1978.

20.Emmanuel Quarshie: Well-built international striker of Sekondi Hasaacas fame. He captained the Black Stars to win the Africa Cup for the then unprecedented 4th time in Libya 1982.

21.Abedi Ayew Pele; Easily Ghana’s brightest soccer gem in the 80s. He played for the Black Stars at the age of 17 in the Black Stars historic fourth Africa Cup triumph in Libya 1982. Subsequently, he played in four more Cup of Nations finals three as captain. He was a top star in the French top division league and once played for the ceremonial World X1.

22.Anthony Yeboah: Great international scorer of repute. He played regularly for the Black Stars in the 90s and was a great sensation in the German League. He was the first Black man to captain German top division club Frankfurt. Later on, he became star attraction in England where he led Leeds United to several important victories.

23.Black Stars 1963 Afcon winners

24.Black Stars 1965 Afcon winners

25.Black Stars 1978 Afcon winners

26.Black Stars Afcon winners 1982

27.Black Meteors First African team to win Olympic soccer bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics beating Australia 1-0 in the match for third place.

28.Sam Arday; International coach of repute who led the Black Meteors to win the first Olympic soccer bronze for Ghana.

In view of developments over the last decade and half this list needs to be updated, the Asamoah Gyans and Takyis can’t wait to be nationally recognised and the earlier the authorities moved into action the better.

There is no doubt the upcoming African Games should be enough motivation for all of us to wake up and put things right.

Cheer up everybody and keep loving sports.