AFCON trivia: Nkrumah’s role in Ghana’s all conquering feat in the 1960’s


Dr. Nkrumah is arguably the president with the greatest contribution to Ghana sports and below are some of the remarkable steps he took to enable Ghana beat them all in football on the African continent.

Setting up of a ministerial portfolio in charge of Sports

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah with his ambition to ensure African Unity believed that football could be used as a tool to ensure that. As a result appointed Ohene Djan the then Chairman of the  Ghana Amateur Football Association (GAFA) as the Director of Sports, a new Ministerial Portfolio  on 1st July, 1960.

The formation of Real Republicans
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah encouraged, Ohene Djan to form Real Republicans, also known as Osagyefo’s Own Club in the early 1960’s. As a model club two players were selected from each team and this enabled them to be an instant hit in Ghana football, hence won one league title and four 4 consecutive FA Cups, which is still a Ghanaian club record in the FA Cup. This team formed a core of the Black Stars team that won the Nations Cup in 1963. They produced 9 of the 18 players selected for the tournament.

The Black Stars team that achieved the historic African Nations Cup triumph (18-man squad)

Players alive (11 players)
Dodoo Ankrah (Real Republicans), Evans Oblitey (Real Republicans),Ben Acheampong former Ben Simmons (Real Republicans), Franklin Crentsil(Real Republicans), Kwame Adarkwa (Kotoko) , Kofi Pare (Real Republicans), Wilberforce Mfum (Kotoko),Agyemang Gyau (Real Republicans, Leonard Acquah (Defence Stars), E.E Degraft (Corners Stones), Osei Kofi (Kotoko),

Players dead (7 players)
Addo Odametey(Late) (Real Republicans), Edward Acquah (Real Republicans),  (late),Mohammed Salisu (Kotoko) (late) Aggrey Fyn(Captain) (Real Republicans), (late) Ofei Dodoo (Hearts of Oak), Joe Aikens (Corners Stones), Atta Kwame (B.A United).

Real Republicans was disbanded, following the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1966.

Organisation of high profile trial matches
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah through the Director of Sports, Ohene Djan invited Real Madrid to Ghana in 1962. This Real Madrid team had won the UEFA Champions League on 5 consective seasons from 1956 to 1960. The spanish giant also played in the final of the UEFA Champions League in 1962, but lost to Benfica and they had the finest players on the globe like Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano. This game was played at the Accra Sports Stadium and the game ended 3-3, which boosted their confidence.

Ghana won the first AFCON on home soil in 1963
Prior to this tournament, the Black Stars were champions in their own right, winning three West African Championships.

Ghana booked a date with Sudan in the final in the 1963 African Cup of Nations. They topped group ‘A’, while the North Africans topped group ‘B’

Ghana 3-0 Sudan
Scorers: Aggrey-Finn (pen) 62, Edward Acquah 72, 82]

The three times champions of West Africa, ascended the continental throne, after beating Sudan 3-0 in the final of the African cup of nations. There was much combination among the soccer Trojans- Edward Acquah, Leonard Acquah and Mfum at the early stages of the 1st half. Ofei Dodoo replaced Leonard Acquah and he brought some life into the game in the 2nd half. Mfum and Acquah pressured so in a despearate attempt to clear the ball, a defence player of Sudan handled the ball. Skipper Aggrey Fyn beat goalkeeper Sabit Dodoo from the spot in the 62nd min. There was some sense humour on who was to take the  penalty. When Aggrey  Fyn, picked the ball Edward Acquah, told him Nanabenyin as he was affectionately called ‘Aren’t you afraid of taking Ghana’s penalty for me am gone’. This second half goal opened the door for Acquah to bang in two more goals to complete the wallop.

Ghana won the second AFCON in 1965 on North African soil

21-11-65 Ghana          3-2 Tunisia       
[Odoi 37, 96, Osei Kofi 79; Tahar Chaibi 67, Abdelmajid Chetali 47]

Report
The Black Stars facing a wild weather which was very windy and chilly, found it difficult to settle down in the game.The Tunisians dictated the pace of the game for 30 minutes, but when the Stars settled the nimble footed, Osei Kofi made his way through the defence men of the Tunisians, before set it for Frank Odoi to score in the 39th min. The 2nd half was played under the floodlight, a condition the Stars were not friendly with and hence gave the Tunisians the upper hand and came as no surprise when Chitali scored the equalizer in the 47th min. The Cheers had hardy died out when Jedidi put the home team into the lead.Osei Kofi stole the show by dribbing through the defence of the Tunisians to fetch the equalizer in the 76th minute. Osei Kofi won Ghana’s nation cup for them by scoring the match winner within the extra 20 minutes. This helped Ghana to break the myth that host nations that plays in the finals of the AFCON always win it.  

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