Goal.com Ghana's Edmund Okai Gyimah takes a look at Ghana's best Afcon XI for the past two decadesIn the last two decades, the Black Stars of Ghana have been ever present in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament with the exception of 2004 where the four-time African champions failed to qualify for the tourney in Tunisia.
Though Ghana are yet to lift the glittering trophy since last winning it 31 years ago, players who represent the nation in the Afcon tournaments over the years perform well.
Goal.com Ghana's Edmund Okai Gyimah takes a look at Ghana's best Afcon XI for the past two decades
The former Galatasary, Blackpool and Wigan shot-stopper made his Black Stars debut in 1996 and was part of the ill-fated Black Stars team which failed to progress beyond the group stage in Burkina 1998.
The keeper also made it to CAN 2000 hosted by Ghana and Nigeria and also helped Ghana to third place on home soil in 2008 as well as captaining the team to second place in Angola 2010.
One of the best right-backs during his days, the former Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Kumapim Stars right-back played in just one Cup of Nations tournament for Ghana which was in Tunisia 1994 and put up splendid performance which caught the eyes of Real Madrid.
The over lapping Amankwah was voted as the best defender in the tournament and found his way into the CAF Africa best eleven.
Arguably the best left-back Ghana have seen in the past two decades, the hugely tactical and very discipline Asare was one of the stars in South Africa 1996 as the Black Stars reached the Semis.
Asare who spent most of his playing career in Belgium with Anderlect provided steel at the back and when going forward to join the attack he was more than silk. He was also part of the Black Stars team which won silver in Senegal ‘92 and also played in the 1994 tournament in Tunisia.
A commander in defense, Osei Kuffour played for Ghana in South Africa 1996, Burkina 1998, Ghana/Nigeria 2000 and Egypt 2006.
He was a pillar at the back who gave attackers lots to worry about. Kuffour was part of the Ghana squad for Mali 2002 but was sent home after complaining about the quality of the jersey Ghana was using.
Not very consistent when it comes to tournament, the former Black Stars skipper is one of the few players who always get the work fully done when they are in good health. Mensah made his Nations Cup debut in 2002 in Mali where Ghana reached the quarter-final and has gone on to represent Ghana in Egypt 2006, Ghana 2008, and Gabon and Equatorial Guinea 2012 which was his best tournament.
The petit anchor man has been ever present in Ghana's Africa Cup of Nations squad since having his breakthrough in the CAN 2008 and has been very useful. The Osasuna midfielder’s combativeness in the middle of the field helps Ghana a lot as he frees the more offensive midfielders to do their work with ease.
Essien has participated in three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments for Ghana but in two of them (Mali 2002 and Angola 2010) he did not finish the tournament due to serious injuries. However, the performance of the on loan Chelsea midfielder when Ghana hosted the tournament in 2008 made him to make the grade. The Bison was one of Ghana's brightest spots in that tournament and eventually made it to the CAF Best eleven of the tournament.
Akunnor was awesome for Ghana on the left flank during the Tunisia 1994 tournament, South Africa 1996, Burkina 1998 and Ghana/Nigeria 2000. A very good crosser of the ball, Akunnor accelerated on the left wing and was a long range specialist scoring a 40 yards free kick against Cote D'Ivoire in Tunisia 1994 in which Ghana lost by two goals to one.
Abedi Ayew Pele
The maestro was very influential either playing as a second striker, schemer or attacking from the left flank for the Black Stars and was the heart and soul of the team scoring some breathtaking goals and also providing inspiration. Pele who is Ghana's all-time leading top scorer with 33 goals hanged his Black Stars boots in 1998 after Ghana failed to progress beyond the group stage of the tournament in Burkina Faso.
A bulldozing centre forward with strength, good aerial ability and a thunderous left foot, Yeboah was the main man in the Black Stars attack in the 90s. The former Eintracht Frankfurt and Leeds United striker is well noted for his classy goals and the volley he scored against Cote d'Ivoire in South Africa ‘96 is one of the best goals in the Afcon history.
The current Black Stars skipper is just one goal shy of breaking Wilberforce Mfum's Ghana's Afcon all-time top scorer record. After abysmal performance in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Ghana where he managed only one goal, Gyan bounced back in Angola 2010 as he helped Ghana to reach the finals by scoring thrice and putting up fantastic performance. He is now leading the new generation of Black Stars for a possible third place in South Africa 2013.
Amankwah, Kuffour, Mensah, Asare
Annan, Essien, Akunnor
Abedi, Yeboah, Gyan