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Best Ghanaian Footballers of All Time

Sun 13 February 2022 | 14:30

Eliminated in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations group stage, Ghana are actually the four-time winners of the major African cup. In this post, however, we are to let you know about the best Ghanaian footballers of all time some of whom are among Ghanaian football players in England, too.

Let us tell you that by Ghanaian football players in England, we mean specifically those playing in the Premier League. There are also players on the list of best Ghanaian footballers of all time who have played in other top European leagues than Premier League who can actually be called former Ghana soccer players in Europe.

One of these former Ghana soccer players in Europe is Abedi Pele, but let us tell you about the other ones played in European leagues as we go further in the post and not here. What you should not expect in this post is that we introduce to you the best Ghanaian footballers in 2021. In fact, none of the best

Ghanaian footballers in 2021

like Thomas Partey, Kwadwo Asamoah, and Mohammed Salisu have been included on the list of best Ghanaian footballers of all time despite the fact that they play in top European leagues since they have not proved that professional yet.

And please don’t mistake our list of best Ghanaian footballers of all time with best Ghana football players ever since the latter refers to the best footballers ever in Ghana national team, though some of the footballers on the former list like Abedi Pele and Asamoah Gyan are also on the latter list - we mean best Ghana football players ever.

A List of Best Ghanaian Footballers of All Time

Well, let’s see which footballers are on the list of best Ghanaian footballers of all time. The list starts with the passed Ghanaian goalkeeper, Robert Mensah, but which other footballers are on the list? Stay with us to know.

 

Robert Mensah (Goalkeeper)

The only goalkeeper on the list of

best Ghanaian footballers of all time

, Robert Mensah is a passed goalkeeper who died at a very early age of 32. He was actually murdered - stabbed by a broken bottle - by the 31-year-old Isaac Melfah following Ghana’s elimination from the 1972 Africa Cup of Nations qualification round. During his footballing time Mensah only served Ghanaian clubs and made a total of 340 appearances for them only at league level. He served the Ghanaian national team between 1962 and 1971 and took part in 1968 and 1970 editions of Africa Cup of Nations with them finishing as runner-up in the former edition.

They say Mensah’s main trait was his indiscipline. While at goal, he read newspaper to mock the opposition players! He also wore a cap during games which opposition players thought it brought them bad luck through witchcraft often trying to remove it from his head when they got the chance! However, despite his indiscipline, Mensah was voted the 9th best African footballer by the French football magazine, France Football, in 1970, and in the following year (1971) he was named the second African Footballer of the Year.

Asamoah Gyan (Forward)

One of the best footballers Ghana has ever produced, Asamoah Gyan is a 36-year-old recently-retired Ghanaian forward who served 11 clubs during his career with the best of them being the English club, Sunderland, - by that account, you can call him one of the former

Ghanaian football players in England

, too - and the French club, Rennes. However, it is not what has brought Gyan fame, but partly the fact that he’s Ghana’s all-time top scorer with 51 goals and also the fact that he’s the top African scorer in the World Cup history with 6 goals that he actually scored in 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cups. He also took part in seven editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019 editions, with the

Ghanaian national team

but to only finish as runners-up in the 2010 edition with them.

Some people believe Gyan was a footballing legend; either true or not the fact that he captained the Ghanaian national team for some time and scored almost one goal in every two appearances for them stands - 51 goals in 109 appearances. He also collected a handful of individual awards during his career including two Ghana Player of the Year awards in 2010 and 2014 and became UAE Pro League top scorer in three consecutive seasons of 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14. It might be interesting for you to know that other than football, Gyan also practiced boxing and tennis sometime during his footballing career and that the fee he was transferred to

Sunderland

for in 2010 ($17.60 million) was a then club record which actually has made him the second most expensive Sunderland player of all time, too.

Baba Yara (Winger)

Known as the “King of Wingers” during his footballing time and considered as one of the best wingers Ghana has ever produced, Baba Yara is another footballer who, just like Robert Mensah, died at a very early age of 32. His cause of death was not, however, murder, but a spinal injury he picked up from an accident that occurred on his way back to Accra - the capital of Ghana - in 1963 while he was travelling back to the city with his team, Real Republicans. The injury left him paralyzed and despite the fact that he was later treated in one of England’s hospitals for spinal injuries, namely the Stoke Mandeville hospital, and was reported to recover within 4 to 6 months, that didn’t actually happen and he finally died in May 1969.

About his footballing life, we should say that Yara served only two Ghanaian clubs during his career, namely Asante Kotoko and Real Republicans, from 1954 to 1969 making 498 appearances and scoring 74 goals for them in the process. He also made 55 appearances and scored 11 goals - exactly one goal in every five appearances - for the Ghanaian national team between 1953 and 1963 winning the 1963 Africa Cup of Nations and taking part in 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification round with them which actually ended in their elimination.

Dogo Moro (Defender)

Considered as one of the best sweepers in the history of not only Ghanaian but also African football, Dogo Moro is a retired over-80-year-old footballer - his date of birth is not clearly known - who, as far as we know, served the Ghanaian club, Asante Kotoko SC, sometime during his career winning the 1970 CAF Champions League with them, and also the Ghanaian national team with whom he also won the 1963 and 1965 editions of Africa Cup of Nations.

There’s no definite account of how long Moro’s club or international career lasted or what other trophies he won besides the ones mentioned above since he actually belongs to an African generation of football who, as he once stated, “played with their raw feet” referring to the fact that they didn’t have even boots to play with. What is quite notable about Moro other than the fact that he was a top defender during his footballing time is that he also never received a red card and never missed a penalty during this time. As once Moro himself said, he had been very careful about his tackles and never had done a rough tackle in all his career.

Ibrahim Sunday (Winger)

Another winger on the list of

best Ghanaian footballers of all time

and the first African footballer to make an appearance in Bundesliga, Ibrahim Sunday is a 77-year-old retired footballer who also played as a midfielder during his career and for three clubs: The Ghanaian club, Asante Kotoko, the Bundesliga club, Werder Bremen, and the lower-tier German club,

VSK Osterholz-Scharmbeck

. Sunday served Werder Bremen sometime between 1975 and 1977 and although he just appeared in one match for them, that actually made him the first African footballer to have made an appearance in Bundesliga.

Sunday also served the Ghanaian national team sometime between 1966 and 1977 making 20 appearances and scoring 8 goals for them in the process - almost one goal in every three appearances - and took part in two editions of African Cup of Nations, namely the 1968 and 1970 editions, with the Ghanaian national team finishing as runner-up in both with them. Sunday won seven Ghanaian Premier League titles with Asante Kotoko and was also named African Footballer of the Year in 1971 becoming the first Ghanaian footballer to have ever won the reward. He also won CAF Legends award in 2017.

Tony Yeboah (Forward)

One of the highly-decorated footballers on the list of best Ghanaian footballers of all time, Tony Yeboah is a 55-year-old retired forward who was not only known for his prolific goalscoring but also scoring brilliant goals that were often featured as the Goal of the Season or Goal of the Month. During his 21-year career which actually lasted from 1981 to 2002, Yeboah played for eight clubs with 4 of them being European including the Premier League club, Leeds United, and the Bundesliga club,

Eintracht Frankfurt

.

So, by that account, Yeboah is indeed among the former

Ghana soccer players in Europe

, and what one shouldn’t overlook here is that he played  but as an active player in European leagues, too, with him making the most number of single-club appearances (156) for the European club, Eintracht Frankfurt, being proof to that plus that he became Bundesliga top scorer in two consecutive seasons of 1992-93 and 1993-94 with 20 and 18 goals, respectively, while with the German club.

During his club career, Yeboah scored a total of 187 goals in 415 appearances which translates to almost one goal (exactly 0.9) in every two appearances, and it didn’t matter to him it was a Ghanaian or a European club; he just scored! And again the proof to that is that besides becoming Bundesliga top scorer in two consecutive seasons, he also became the Ghanaian Premier League top scorer in 1986-87 season with 35 goals in 35 appearances. Yeboah also served the Ghanaian national team sometime between 1985 and 1997 with the same goalscoring rates - almost one goal in every two appearances - as he scored 29 goals in his 59 appearances for his country’s national team. He actually took part in three editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 1992, 1994, and 1996 editions, with the Ghanaian national team finishing as runner-up and on the fourth place in the 1992 and 1996 editions, respectively.

Karim Abdul Razak (Midfielder)

Nicknamed “the Golden Boy” sometime during his career and considered as one of the best Ghana football players ever, Karim Abdul Razak is a 65-year-old retired midfielder who although didn’t play for any European clubs during his career, he still remained a top scorer at least with the top Ghanaian club, Asante Kotoko, - he scored 154 goals in 354 club appearances for them - and also scored 25 international goals in 70 appearances which has made him the fifth Ghana’s top scorer of all time, indeed, to this date. And you know, that’s a gift for a midfielder to finish among his country’s national team top scorers of all time and specifically as the fifth one.

Anyway, Razak is actually one of the highly-decorated footballers on the list with the several club trophies he won both as a player and manager including three Ghanaian Premier League titles in 1981, 1986 and 1987. He was also named UAE Pro-League top scorer in 1980-81 season and won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1978 - he’s one of the third Ghanaian footballers to have won the award, the same year that he won the African Cup of Nations with the Ghanaian national team scoring two winning goals for them, one against

Zambia

and another against Tunisia in the competition’s semi-finals. And other than winning the Best AFCON Player award in 1978 and two Egyptian Player of the Year awards in 1984 and 1985, Razak was named one of the best African footballers of the past 50 years by CAF in 2007.

Samuel Kuffour (Defender)

Among the

best Ghana football players ever

or more specifically said among the best defenders Ghana has ever produced, Samuel Kuffour is a 45-year-old retired footballer who served almost only European clubs during his career. In fact, if he hadn’t signed for the Ghanaian club, Asante Kotoko, with whom he actually stayed for three months at the end of his career making no official appearances for them, then we could have said he had only served European clubs during his career, though you know, making no official appearances for a club almost means one has not served a club.

What is Kuffour is best remembered for is actually the time he served the top Bundesliga club, Bayern Munich: For 12 years between 1993 and 2005 during which he made a total of 277 appearances for them across all competitions - 23 appearances per season averagely - to actually become the second longest serving player in the club’s history after Mehmet Scholl. And he actually won 14 club trophies with Bayern Munich including six Bundesliga titles three of which were consecutive. Kuffour also served the Ghanaian national team between 1993 and 2006 making 54 appearances and scoring 3 goals for them in the process. He also took part in the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2006 editions of Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana to only finish on the fourth place in the 1996 edition of the major African cup. 

During his playtime, Kuffour was often known for his physical strength and close marking that had actually made him one of the toughest defenders in Bundesliga. He was a key player of Bayern Munich during his service to them, but of course, not the error-free one. Maybe the saddest moment in Kuffour’s career - the moment he said in an interview he never wanted to remember again - was when Bayern Munich lost 2-1 to

Manchester United

in 1999 Champions League final where United actually won the game in a matter of minutes: While they were behind 1-0 until the 90th minutes, they scored two goals in 91st and 93rd minutes to win the game. Kuffour beat the ground and wept for their loss after the final whistle! 

Michael Essien (Midfielder)

Considered as one of the best midfielders in the world during his prime and especially when with Chelsea,

Michael Essien

is a 39-year-old retired Ghanaian midfielder who served the Premier League club more than any other club during his career, actually for nine years between 2005 and 2014, though he had also short spells with Lyon, Real Madrid - on loan, and AC Milan, too. Essien was not at all a prolific goalscorer - he scored around one goal in every ten appearances averagely, however, two of his goals were chosen as the Goal of the Season in 2006-07 and 2008-09 season. Also the transfer fee for which he moved to Chelsea (£24.4 million) in 2005 made him the most expensive African footballer ever, of course, at the time.

Essien also served the Ghanaian national team some time between 2002 and 2014 during which he scored a total of 9 goals in 59 appearances for them. He represented Ghana in 2002, 2008, and 2010 editions of Africa Cup of Nations and in 2006 and 2014 FIFA World Cups but never won a trophy with them. His best shot at this was finishing as runner-up in 2010 and on third place in 2008 edition of Africa Cup of Nations, of course, with the Ghanaian national team. In playstyle, Essien was often known for his physicality and hard tackling for which he had earned the nickname, “the Bison”, however, he had also technical abilities and a good vision, and was capable of firing powerful shots from distance. Essien’s defensive capabilities also made him a good candidate for playing in the central defense or on the right of the defense line.

Abedi Pele (Midfielder)

They call him a legend but if he’s not, he’s for sure one of the greatest footballers Africa has ever produced. During his playtime,

Abedi Pele

played for some European clubs including Lyon, Torino, and Zurich, but he’s often known as a Marseille player since he actually served the French club more than any other club during his career - actually for six years between 1987 and 1993 - and more importantly was part of the Marseille’s "Magical Trio" alongside the then top footballers, Jean-Pierre Papin and Chris Waddle. He also served the Ghanaian national team some time between 1982 and 1998 during which  he managed to score 19 goals in 73 appearances for them. Although he never took part in a World Cup competition since Ghana was never qualified for it during his career, Pele played in five editions of Africa Cup of Nations, namely the 1982, 1992, 1994, 1996, and 1998 editions, winning the 1982 edition and finishing as runner-up in the 1992 edition with the Ghanaian national team.

Abedi Pele is one of the highly-decorated footballers on the list of

best Ghanaian footballers of all time

with most of his honors being individual ones. He not only won the Golden Foot Legends Award in 2011 and Africa Cup of Nations Golden Ball in 1992 but also was named African Footballer of the Year in three consecutive years of 1991, 1992, and 1993, Ghana Footballer of the Year in 1993, the third African Player of the Century by IFFHS, and finally on the FIFA 100 list by the Brazilian legend, Pele - he’s actually the only Ghanaian footballer on the above-mentioned list. With all these honors which actually aren’t limited to what was mentioned above, don’t you think he should be called a footballing legend?

Being a source of inspiration to the later Ghanaian stars like Asamoah Gyan, Abedi Pele was often considered as a technically-gifted footballer with top dribbling and passing skills actually to the extent that they called him “the African Maradona” or “Maestro” meaning master in Spanish. In professionalism, as some believe, there is no other Ghanaian footballer comparable to him and maybe that’s why he is the only Ghanaian footballer on Pele’s FIFA 100 list. Other than passing and dribbling skills, Abedi was also known for his speed and goalscoring abilities which actually had him play sometimes as a forward, too.

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source: SportMob

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