Posted On Friday, 5th April 2013
By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
A number of players with Ghanaian parentage who should have responded to calls from the Black Stars turned out to European nations and appeared never to have had the desire to play for Ghana.
These players could have flavoured Ghana’s success story at the Africa Cup of Nations and maybe gone down as the only African country to have reached the elusive World Cup glory.
Ghanasoccernet.com selects top eight players with Ghanaian roots who turned up for European countries and made their marks.
1. Marcel Desailly – France
An AC Milan hall of famer – Desailly referred back home in Accra as ‘Odenkey’ lifted the 1998 FIFA World Cup with France and played a starring role for Aimé Jacquet’s men.
Two years later, Desailly reached another milestone with France in Euro 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Desailly was a master of defence in his day.
The highlights of Desaailly’s illustrious career at club level came in two successive Uefa Champions League title wins.
In the 1992-93 season, he lifted the trophy with Olympique Marseille with Ghana’s Abedi Pele as his team-mate and scored in Milan’s 4-0 demolishing of Barcelona in the Athens a year after.
He also captained Chelsea and is a cult figure in Milan.
Desailly was born in Accra to Ghanaian parents but ended up in France after his mother got married to a French diplomat.
Maybe you can match Sammy Osei Kuffour’s talent in defence to the former French captain but he is by far the most successful Ghanaian-born player ever.
He lives back home in Accra, Ghana’s capital and is on record to have declared his interest in coaching the Black Stars.
2. Gerald Asamoah – Germany
Asamoah turned up in the Black Stars training grounds in Accra together with Otto Addo in 2000 but was snubbed by Fred Osam-Duodu.
No much was heard about the powerful center-forward until he gatecrashed Rudi Völler squad for the Japan&Korea 2002 World Cup.
Asamoah was feared force in the World Cup and played an influential role as the Germans lost in the final to Ronaldo’s Brazil.
He was once again in the Germany squad for the 2005 Confedaerions Cup and the 2006 World Cup though he was not a regular but won bronze medals in both tournaments.
While with Schalke 04, he won the DFB-Pokal in the 2000/01 and 2001/02 seasons.
He is currently playing in the Bundesliga with Greuther Furth.
Born in Mampong in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Asamoah has built a grande hotel back in Accra and is expected to return home when he finally hangs his boots.
3. Mario Balotelli – Italy
Controversial AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli decided to honour his roots by having his Ghanaian and Italian surnames on his shirt for Euro 2012 and played with ‘Barwuah Balotelli’ on his back.
He was born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents, whose relatives live in the central Brong Ahafo region in Ghana, but was later adopted by an Italian family.
Ghana made several attempts to lure Balotelli to play for the West African giants but he appeared rather focused on becoming the first black player to wear the Italy colours and he started that by featuring for Pierluigi Casiraghi’s Italy U21 side August 2008.
His debut against Ivory Coast in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was the beginning of greater things for the hit-man.
Balotelli single-handedly carried Italy on his shoulders in the UEFA European Football Championship and propelled them to the final as they succumbed to a 4-0 thrashing by Spain.
The agony, pain and sorrow was clear on his face as he broke into tears.
In August 2007, five days before he turned 17, Balotelli received his first senior International call-up from Ghana, a move orchestrated by French coach Claude Le Roy for a friendly against Senegal but he declined the offer citing once again his willingness to play for Italy when he became eligible.
Mario could have been a perfect solution to Ghana’s problems in attack but it is quite obvious that the West African could not have dealt with his ego issues.
As much as he is popular on the field for his immense talent, the 22-year-old is also popular for his clashes with team-mates and coaches.
Maybe it is good he did not respond to Ghana’s calls, the four time African champions could be have been in another Kevin-Prince Boateng moment.
4. Danny Nii Tackie Welbeck – England
Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck scored his first goal for England against Belgium in a warm-up game for Euro 2012.
He made his England debut in March 2011 against Ghana, the country who had tried to persuade him to play for them because of his parentage.
The 22-year-old’s full name is Daniel Nii Tackie Mensah Welbeck.
Welbeck is one of huge prospects for England and he is almost cementing his place as an England regular.
At United Welbeck has shown some stunning displays and he has a high point of an excellent all-round display at the Old Trattford.
5. David Odonkor – Germany
Odonkor has not really got much talks about him since the Germany 2006 World Cup – his international career had just a two year span between 2006 and 2008 and made 16 appearances and had just one goal goal to his name.
His career was purely legitimised by pace and at 10.93s in 100 meters, Odonkor was a potential Olympics sprinter.
Odonkor is currently playing in the Ukrainian Premier League with FC Hoverla Uzhhorod.
Though Odonkor did not leave any mark except a UEFA European Football Championship silver medal and a bronze medal at the 2006 World Cup, Odonkor could have been one fine addition for the Black Stars and maybe help to win a fifth Nations Cup trophy.
6. George Boateng – Netherlands
Made just four senior appearances for Les Oranjes.
So much cannot be said about his international exploits but Boateng has a lot of success stories to his club career.
Born in Nkawkaw in Ghana, he left for Holland and became one of the products of the Feyenoord Academy in Rotterdam.
After over 70 appearances for the club to left to England to join Coventry City and spent 13 years playing in England.
Boateng, at his peak, was renowned for controlling the midfield and scoring important goals.
He made over 105 appearances for Aston Villa and almost reached a 200th cap for Middlesbrough between 2002 and 2008.
Boateng is now with Malaysian outfit T-Team FC.
7. Jerome Boateng – Germany
Half brother of AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng who has called time on his Ghana career.
Jerome is an efficient full-back and began his career with Kevin in Hertha Berlin in 2007.
Boateng is capable of playing at either side as a wing-back.
While there was a possibility of Kevin-Prince Boateng playing for Ghana, his father said in 2005 in a radio interview on Space FM in Sunyani that Jerome would never give the Ghana idea a consideration and it is no surprising that he has represented the Germans, the home country of his mother.
Jerome came face to face with his half brother Kevin during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa during a Group fixture which the Germans won 1-0 over Ghana.
Though Jerome is not a regular in the current German squad, he is consistent for Uefa Champions League favourites Bayern Munich.
What a fine player he is and a perfect solution should have been in the offering for Ghana’s left-back nightmares.
8. Georginio Wijnaldum – Netherlands
Though still eligible to play for the Black Stars, Georginio has never given the thought a consideration.
The 22-year-old has a Ghanaian parentage but was born in Rotterdam in Holland.
A senior debut for Les Oranjes is just within reach, he is exciting to watch for the Dutch U21 side.
In the current Dutch Eredivisie league, Georginio has scored 14 times for PSV Eindhoven and he is one of their most important players.
Just like Memphis Depay, also at PSV, Georginio will never voluntarily turn up for Ghana until a labourious process of luring them to commit their international future to Ghana begin as soon as immediately.
Others: Memphis Depay – PSV Eindhoven, Elvis Manu – Feyenoord, Edwin Gyasi – FC Twente, Daniel Yeboah – Ivory Coast.
Do you think these players could have added something different to the Black Stars or we would have left them in the dark as in the case of Quincy Owusu-Abeyie and the rest? Let’s know what you think.