Goal.com Ghana continues to look at the whereabouts of the players that made up Ghana’s first World Cup squad this time looking back at the defenders
|HANS ADU SARPEI
Memorable contribution: Resolute in the draw in Kinshasa during the qualifiers that paved the way for a claim to top spot
Current status: Inactive
Currently unemployed and teetering on the edge of retirement Hans Sarpei was a surprise addition to the squad for the 2006 World Cup after playing just one game of the qualifiers. He never made it onto the pitch during the tournament, but it led to a good stint with the national team in what was the latter stage of his career. Sarpei was seen as a back up to a troublesome left-back spot behind Habib Mohammed, Shilla Illiasu and Emmanuel Addoquaye Pappoe in that role, being able to also deputise for ever present right-back John Paintsil. Sarpei’s main contribution though was to provide an expert hand in dealing with European attackers having spent all his years in Germany.
|SAMUEL OSEI KUFFOUR
Memorable contribution: Ever present in the qualifiers providing a solid rock in defence
Current status: Retired
Voted by Caf as a member of the top 30 African players of all time in 2007, Samuel Osei Kuffour is one of the most decorated Ghanaian players of all time. The World Cup 2006 was supposed to be a swansong for one of the nation’s finest defenders but a costly mistake in the opening game of the tournament meant he never kicked another ball for the Black Stars and brought an unhappy end to an international career that had been nothing short of stellar. The veteran defender was present throughout the unsuccessful qualifying campaigns for the 1998, 2002 as well as the successful 2006 World Cups. Kuffour is currently a football pundit.
Memorable contribution: Ever present in qualifiers and solid as a rock in Ghana’s first World Cup tournament
Current status: Rennes
Currently the General Captain of the national team, John Mensah was the young understudy to Kuffour being groomed to take his place and the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ did just that another ever present throughout the qualifiers for the tournament. It will have been good to see his partnership with Kuffour throughout the tournament. He, however, gave a very good account of himself throughout the tournament. The Rock of Gibraltar has had his career blighted by injuries, but he is now back with his former side Rennes hoping to revive his career.
EMMANUEL ADDOQUAYE PAPPOE
Memorable contribution: Ever present in the qualifiers to the World Cup 2006
Current status: Contracted to Liberty Professionals
Emmanuel Addoquaye Pappoe was another of those who stayed throughout the qualifiers as well as the tournament. Pappoe made it onto the field twice and both times in defeat. He was substituted at half time in the opening game loss to Italy and was returned to the squad in the round of 16 loss to Brazil with Habib Mohammed and Shilla Illiasu deputising for him in his absence. Pappoe is currently contracted to Dansoman-based Liberty Professionals.
ILLIASU SHILLA ALHASSAN
Memorable contribution: A solid performer throughout the World Cup
Current status: Playing actively for Impuls Dilijan in Armenia
Shilla Illiasu was one of the few players who made the 2006 squad without participating in the qualifiers making it through on the back of good form in the local league with giants Asante Kotoko. Shilla Illiasu played in all the games at the World Cup proving a solid defender throughout the fiesta as well as a good outlet in attack when needed. He currently plies his trade for Impuls Dilijan in Armenia.
Memorable contribution: Solid defensive and offensive work as a right-back in the World Cup
Current status: Hapoel Tel Aviv
Paintsil is regarded by many as one of the most committed national team players of his generation with his constant heed to national team call-ups. Paintsil made the squad after being heavily involved in the qualifiers and played in all the matches. Paintsil has been a constant figure in the squad since then and after a brief drop in the pecking order he made the cut for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Memorable contribution: Featured in both Ghana’s wins at the 2006 World Cup in Germany
Current status: al-Talaba
Habib Mohammed was not present for the qualifiers and was the least capped player to be called up to the squad with just one cap at the time. He will go on to make seven more appearances for the Black Stars, two of which were in the World Cup tournament. Habib like Illiasu made the squad on the back of good performances in the local league, but this time with King Faisal. Habib was brought in as a replacement to Kuffour in the latter matches of the tournament pushing Shilla Illiasu into the centre of defence. The defender is currently contracted to al-Talaba.
Memorable contribution: Played his part in the qualifiers for the tournament
Current status: Beijing Baxy
Usually referred to as Dan Quaye, he is regarded as one of the great defenders on the local scene all though that never showed in his career with the national team. A part of the famous Hearts of Oak team of the early parts of the century, Quaye made his debut in a qualifier for World Cup 2002 but will not feature again until he had a run in the 2006’s qualifiers. He never got onto the field in the tournament though and it always remained a case of what might have been with respect to the defender’s career with the national team. Quaye has played a lot of his football in China and is currently contracted to China League One side Beijing Baxy.
ISSAH GABRIEL AHMED
Memorable contribution: Deputised well whenever called upon during the qualifiers
Current status: Randers FC
Issah Ahmed never got onto the field at the World Cup but played in the qualifiers and seemed to impress enough to make the squad. Ahmed joined Danish side Randers FC in Denmark after the tournament and stayed there till he was released by the club in 2011. It seemed he will join his old club Asante Kotoko but the deal never came to fruition. Ahmed never managed to hold down a permanent spot in the national team and is currently inactive.
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