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Ghana's Ultimate Dream Team: Who would make an all-time Black Stars World Cup squad?

18:12 WAT 02/12/2022
Ghana Dream Team
GOAL's Ed Dove puts together his all-time dream Ghana World Cup squad.
  • Robert Mensah

    Goalkeeper: Robert Mensah

    A giant of the domestic game, Mensah was part of the legendary Asante Kotoko team of the 60s that culminated with victory in the African Clubs Cup in 1970.

    He also featured for the Black Stars at both the Africa Cup of Nations and Olympic Games in 1968, winning a silver medal in the first event.

    Renowned for his playful antics on the pitch, as well as his awesome goalkeeping fundamentals, Mensah made enemies aplenty with his mockery of opposition strikers, occasionally even reading a newspaper while keeping guard between the sticks!

    Ghana was plunged into mourning when he was murdered—aged only 32—in 1971.

  • Goalkeeper: Michael Owusu Mensah

    One of the star performers as Ghana won the Nations Cup in 1982, his exploits for club and country ensure that he squeezes Richard Kingson, Anue Kofi, John Baker and Joe Carr out of our dream team.

  • Goalkeeper: Edward Dodoo Ankrah

    Another excellent Ghana goalkeeper of yesteryear, Ankrah was between the sticks for the iconic Ghana team of the 60s that won back-to-back continental crowns.

    He won four consecutive Ghanaian FA Cups with Kwame Nkrumah’s team, Real Republicans.

  • Samuel Osei Kuffour Ghana

    Defender: Samuel Kuffour

    Kuffour enjoyed a successful 12-year spell at Bayern Munich, an unprecedented feat for an African player to have such a long and trophy-laden tenure at one of Europe’s genuine elite.

    During that period, he won six Bundesliga titles, as well as the Champions League in 2001, having been on the losing side two years earlier when Manchester United’s treble-winners staged their remarkable Nou Camp comeback.

    Kuffour’s international career preceded the Black Stars’ glorious run at the 2010 World Cup, although he was part of the side that secured the nation’s first qualification for the global show piece four years earlier.

  • Defender: James Kuuku Dadzie

    An Africa Cup of Nations winner with Ghana in 1978, Dadzie was one of Africa’s finest defenders during the late 70s and even made the Team of the Tournament for his performances en route to the title.

    He was also celebrated for his leadership skills, having captained the national side at the 1980 Afcon, and since retirement, has claimed that he’s the greatest central defender the national side has ever known.

    He represented both Sekondi Hasaacas and Asante Kotoko in his homeland, and has coached Ghana’s women’s team—among other assignments—since retirement.

  • John Paintsil of West Ham United

    Defender: John Paintsil

    Solid right-back who established himself in the Premier League with West Ham United and Fulham, reaching the Europa League final with the latter.

    He was part of the side that reached the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup, playing every minute of that magnificent campaign.

  • Defender: Charles Addo Odametey

    The first member of the glorious Ghana team of the mid-60s to make the cut, Odametey captained the Black Stars to success at both the ’63 and ’65 Nations Cups as they established themselves as the team of the decade.

    The Hearts of Oak great was also a key figure in the side that reached the final three years later, only to fall to a fine Democratic Republic of Congo team.

  • Sarpei  SCHALKE BAYERN 2011

    Defender: Hans Sarpei

    Another versatile defensive option in this team, Sarpei was also a key man during the run to the 2010 quarters—starting all five matches—and represented an experienced head in a youthful defensive unit.

    A solid Bundesliga operator, he was also present for Ghana’s first World Cup, in 2006, and their run to the knockouts.

  • Kwadwo Asamoah Juventus Serie A

    Left sider/Midfielder: Kwadwo Asamoah

    Even though injury ravaged some of Asamoah’s best years, he nonetheless achieved great things with a fine Juventus side and was also present for Ghana’s finest hour at the 2010 World Cup.

    He signed for Juve in 2012, and settled quickly, soon being celebrated by The Guardian among the 100 best players in world football.

    He would go on to win six league titles and a swathe of domestic honours with the Old Lady, as well as reaching two Champions League finals.

    Asamoah arguably reached his peak in 2014 when he was named in the Serie A Team of the Year.

    While injuries prevented Asabob for truly enjoying the international career for which he once appeared destined, he did make the Nations Cup Team of the Tournament twice—reaching the final in 2010.

  • Sulley Muntari Inter Milan 2010

    Midfielder: Sulley Muntari

    Rangy, tenacious, technically adroit midfielder who won the Champions League with Internazionale.

    He was also present for Ghana’s run to the World Cup quarter-final in 2010—scoring in the decisive showdown with Uruguay—and was also an FA Cup winner with Portsmouth.

  • Michael Essien

    Midfielder: Michael Essien

    Another player whose career trajectory was undoubtedly affected by injuries, Essien was a phenomenon during his pomp, combining outrageous physical attributes with tenacity, game intelligence and no little technical prowess.

    After winning two French titles with Lyon, he took his place in Jose Mourinho’s title-winning Chelsea side, going on to clinch a Premier League under his mentor’s tutelage in 2006.

    The Bison missed the 2010 World Cup due to injury, and his impact was largely dimmed by fitness issues by the time of Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League success, but he’d still go on to represent some of Europe’s biggest clubs—namely AC Milan and Real Madrid.

    While Essien never won Caf’s African Footballer of the Year award, he was named runner-up—behind Frederic Kanoute—in 2007.

  • Stephen Appiah, Christian Obodo

    Midfielder: Stephen Appiah

    Like Essien, injuries ravaged his career, but in his prime, Appiah was a truly complete midfielder, who could pass, tackle, dribble, shoot and do everything in between.

    Nicknamed the Tornado for his all-action performances in midfield, he represented Juventus and Fenerbahce among others, and was present for both of Ghana’s runs to the World Cup knockouts.

  • Midfielder: Adolf Armah

    Classic midfield general who finished second in the running for African Footballer of the Year in 1979, behind only Cameroon great Thomas N’Kono.

    He starred across eight years with Hearts of Oak, and also won the Nations Cup with Ghana in 1978.

  • Karim Abdul Razak & Hicham El Amrani

    Midfielder: Karim Abdul Razak

    Ghana’s Golden Boy was the Black Stars’ star performer at the 1978 Nations Cup—when they won their third title—and promptly followed up that triumph by winning the African Footballer of the Year award.

    Amidst several successful stints with his hometown club Asante Kotoko, Razak spent time with New York Cosmos in the NASL, playing alongside World Cup-winning duo Carlos Alberto and Franz Beckenbauer.

    Entering his 30s, he starred for Egyptian side Arab Contractors, twice being named Egyptian Footballer of the Year during his time with the club.

  • Forward: Baba Yara

    While Ghana created an immense number of star central midfielders during the 90s and 2000s, in decades previously, they were blessed with numerous sensational wingers.

    Baba Yara was right up there, having starred for Asante Kotoko and Real Republicans.

    The ‘King of Wingers’ was a marvel on the field, but his career was cut short due to a devastating road traffic accident. He passed away at 32.

  • Osei Kofi

    Forward: Osei Kofi

    Kofi was the star performer of Ghana’s 1965 Afcon-winning side, top scoring during that tournament as the Black Stars retained the title they’d won on home soil two years beforehand.

    Nicknamed the ‘Wizard Dribbler’, Kofi flummoxed defenders and tantalised fans alike with his sensational footwork and ability to stretch the play, while he also offered an end product as well.

    He enjoyed an excellent goal record with domestic giants Asante Kotoko, winning six domestic titles and Africa’s top continental prize with the Porcupine Warriors.

    Currently 82, Kofi entered the priesthood after retirement.

  • Mohammed Polo

    Forward: Mohammed Polo

    A victorious member of Ghana’s Afcon-winning team of 1978, Polo was a sensation on the left flank and is a hero of Hearts of Oak.

    He later tried his hand in the United Arab Emirates.

  • Forward: Ibrahim Sunday

    Sunday won the second ever African Footballer of the Year prize in 1971, pipping compatriot Robert Mensah to top spot in the continental POTY standings.

    Like Mensah and Kofi, he was an African champion with Asante Kotoko, but was twice a defeated Afcon finalist with the Black Stars.

    The talented forward broke new ground for continental players in 1975 when he signed for Werder Bremen, with the top tier side impressed by his dribbling skills, creativity and leadership.

    While Sunday struggled to adapt to life in Germany—where his smaller stature counted against him—he remains a pioneer for African players, having been the first to feature in the Bundesliga.

  • Ghana's Abedi Pele chases the ball during Ghana's 2-1 victory today at Port Elizabeth in the First round of the 1996 African Cup of Nations

    Forward: Abedi Pele

    Arguably Ghana’s greatest ever player, Abedi Pele is one of the most dazzling talents ever produced in Africa and named the continent’s Footballer of the Year on three occasions.

    He was a Nations Cup winner with Ghana at the start of his international career, and while the Black Stars never again quite reached those heights, he did inspire them to the final again a decade after their most recent success.

    At club level, Pele was the first Ghanaian player to truly make his mark in the European game, and was one of the stars of the excellent Olympique de Marseille side that won the Champions League—in controversial circumstances—in 1993.

    His sons Andre and Jordan have also enjoyed long Black Stars careers and will represent the national side at the World Cup.

  • Anthony 'Tony' Yeboah

    Striker: Tony Yeboah

    Ghana were blessed with numerous lethal frontmen, including the likes of Opoku Nti, George Alhassan and even Asamoah Gyan, so picking our final striker was no easy choice.

    However, for his achievements in European football, and both for the quantity and quality of his goals, Yeboah gets the nod.

    Twice Bundesliga top scorer—the first African player to achieve the feat—Yeboah enjoyed a brief but sublime spell in the English game with Leeds United, where he at times appeared to have embarked on his own personal Goal of the Season competition.

  • Kotoko GM Samuel Opoku Nti, Moses Armah Paker C.E.O of Medaema and Kurt Okraku

    Striker: Opoku Nti

    Enjoyed an excellent goalscoring record at Asante Kotoko during the first half of the 80s, before trying his hand in Switzerland.

    He was an Afcon champion in 1982, and netted the winning goal a year later as the Porcupine Warriors defeated Al-Ahly in the final of the Africa Clubs Championship.

  • Asamoah Gyan 2014 World Cup.

    Striker: Asamoah Gyan

    Africa’s all-time top scorer at the World Cup, Gyan certainly came good on the biggest stage, scoring Ghana’s first ever World Cup goal—against the Czech Republic in 2006—before his heroics took the Black Stars to the quarter-finals in 2010.

    His club career didn’t match his international exploits, although he did win silverware in the United Arab Emirates with Al Ain.

  • Striker: Edward Acquah

    Squeezes the likes of Kwasi Owusu, Wilberforce Mfun and the Ayew brothers out of the squad, Acquah is second in the all-time Ghanaian scoring charts, and has the best goals-to-games ratio of any player in the top 10.

    He netted 45 goals in his 41 international outings, with two coming as Ghana defeated Sudan 3-0 to win their first African title in 1963.