Top five African 'lost boys'
NII ODARTEY LAMPTEY – Italia ‘91
He was the undisputed star of Italia '91, a tournament that featured several future stars - the likes of Juan Sebastian Veron and Alessandro del Piero. Lamptey inspired a talented generation of Black Starlets to maiden global glory for Ghana, scoring four goals, and putting in a number of man-of-the-match performances. He won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards at the tournament's end. Even better, the then 16-year-old received plaudits from some of the game's bona fide legends, not least Brazilian great Pele who practically endorsed him as his heir apparent. However, Lamptey's clearly mapped path to greatness was obstructed, mostly by circumstances beyond his control, including heart-rending personal tragedy and exploitation by greedy player agents. From Holland, through England, Argentina, China, and back to Ghana, Lamptey sought to find a way of becoming at least half the player his potential could have allowed him to be, but to little avail. His only lasting reputation would be restricted to that of a globetrotter, and has since become a by-word for players who failed spectacularly to realise the promise they exhibited in their younger years. Lamptey has since retired and runs a school in Accra.