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Goal picks the numbers that defined a memorable 2013 for Ghanaian football

SPECIAL
By Sammie Frimpong

Statistics have always been useful in describing football happenings and, below, Goal highlights the bunch of digits that decorated Ghanaian football more than any others in the concluding year.

WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION

25 - The number of goals Ghana scored in eight Brazil 2014 qualification matches, six more than Cote d'Ivoire, the next most successful in front of goal at the end of the series.

6 - Six of those 25 goals were scored in the first leg of the playoff against Egypt in Kumasi, the most Ghana scored in a single game all year and one shy of 2012’s tally of seven, put past Lesotho at the same venue, the Baba Yara Stadium.

15000 - The amount in US Dollars paid to each member of the Stars squad involved in recording the win above [against Egypt].

28 - That loss for Egypt ensures the Pharaohs would have to extend their wait for a third World Cup appearance by at least another four years. By 2018, when the next World Cup would be held, Egypt would have lacked representation at international football's showpiece event for some 28 years, with their most recent coming in 1990.

34 - Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan scored twice in a World Cup qualifier played away to Sudan in a 3-1 win that took his tally of goals for the Black Stars to 34. That haul initially seemed to have taken him a goal past national legend Abedi Pele to the summit of Ghana's chart of all-time topscorers, until stories started to surface that the record might actually have belonged to another great Ghanaian forward from an earlier generation.

11 - The number of regulation time minutes Schalke 04 midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng had to play on his return to the national setup against Egypt in Cairo to all but seal his place in Ghana's squad for Brazil 2014. Two minutes from the end, he scored the Stars' consolation in a 2-1 loss. Incredible.

8000000 - Still crunching figures in currency, Ghana is due to receive 8 million dollars for qualifying for Brazil 2014, and another $1.5 million to aid its preparation for the tournament. All the other 31 contenders would also receive the same sum. The extent of progress at the competition would determine how much more a participating country earns.

2014 WORLD CUP DRAW

12/13 - Ghana rumouredly sent a 13-man high-powered delegation to represent the country at the 2014 World Cup Final Draw on December 6. Other reports put the number at a dozen; either way, it was far more than what the event's organizers had made allocation for.

1, 2, 3 -Ghana was paired in Group G with Portugal, Germany, and the USA, ensuring that the west Africans would play those sides on the first, second, and third occasions respectively at a senior World Cup.

TURKEY 2013/MISCELLANEOUS

0 -The number of times Black Satellites' coach Sellas Tetteh changed his matchday attire from Ghana's final group game at the U20 World Cup in Turkey to the team's third-place match at that tournament. Remember that polo shirt?

0 - The number of games Real Tamale United won in the 2012-13 Ghana Premier League season, setting a new record for least victories in a league season. In all, RTU accumulated just six points, all from draws. Awful!

6 - The number of goals scored by Asamoah Gyan* and Ebenezer Assifuah to claim topscoring honours in the Brazil 2014 qualifying series and 2013 U20 World Cup respectively.

22 - Local giants Asante Kotoko secured their 22nd league title - the second in a row - in June, expanding the gap in number of domestic championships collected between themselves and rivals Hearts of Oak to two and thus establishing the Kumasi-based outfit as arguably the strongest force in the land at present.

4 - The number of high-profile returnees welcomed back into the Black Stars fold from self-imposed exile in the course of the year, namely, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Michael Essien, and the Ayew brothers Andre and Jordan.

16 – Ghana’s 16 goals scored at Turkey 2013 were the highest registered by any team at the competition.

2 - Two Ghanaians, Kwadwo Asamoah and Asamoah Gyan, were included in Caf’s initial shortlist of 25 nominees for 2013’s African Player of The Year award. Of the pair, only the latter made it onto the final list of 10. And while Asamoah might have missed out on a shot at claiming that prize, the two titles he won with Serie A side Juventus - the Scudetto and Supercoppa Italia - remain the only pieces of silverware won by any Ghanaian in Europe's five major football nations (England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France) in 2013.

*Gyan's feat was a shared one, as Egyptians Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Aboutreika scored as many goals.

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