Sports News of Friday, 6 March 2015
Ghana’s 58th birthday today and below is a chronicle of it’s greatest sporting achievements and personalities.
1963 Champions of Africa
The Black Stars, who had won three West African titles, became the first country from the Sub-Saharan Africa to win the Africa Cup of Nations in 1963 on home soil, walloping Sudan three goals to nil, through a goal from Aggrey Fyn and a brace from Edward Acquah.
It was a triumph for both the team and their leader Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the republic of Ghana. Football he believed could be a model for African pride and unity and with a successful Black Stars team he had a supreme vehicle.
The skipper of the team was Aggrey Fyn and CK Gyamfi was the head coach with Ben Kouffie as his assistant.
1965 AFCON triumph
The Black Stars again won their 2 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy in 1965, but this time on North African soil, defeating the host nation Tunisia in a dramatic grand finale to become the first country to beat a host nation in the final of the AFCON.
The role of Ohene Djan, the first director of Sports of Ghana in the Black Stars success story in 1963 and 1965 can’t be quantified.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah used him as an agent to promote Ghana football by forming Real Republicans, which selected 2 players each from the top clubs in Ghana and that team formed the core of the Black Stars team that won the first AFCON in 1965.
1978 Ghana win the Africa Cup of Nations for keeps
The West African giant in 1978 clinched the continental showpiece for the third time and became the first nation to do that, hence won the trophy for keeps.
Two goals from Opoku Afriyie propelled Ghana to a 2-0 victory over Uganda in the final of the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ghana’s last AFCON victory
The Black Stars added another Africa Cup of Nations silverware to their trophy room, beating Libya on penalties in front of their home fans in 1982 to attain the feat of winning the AFCON for the fourth time.
The four times champions of the AFCON have made it to three different finals after winning the trophy in 1982, but have narrowly lost all in 1992, 2010 and 2015, thus becoming the country with most grand finales in the history of the competition.
Ghana, following several years of struggling to book a place in the FIFA World Cup, finally succeeded to qualify for Germany 2006 under the technical prowess of Ratomir Djokovic, the Serbian and became the only African country to reach the last 16, before Brazil, the defending champions at the time knocked them out.
Ghana, four years later qualified for the first ever World Cup staged in Africa, precisely the Republic of South Africa in 2010 and equaled a joint record held by Cameroon and Senegal as the only 2 African sides to make it to the quarters of the World Cup and almost set a new record of being the first to reach the semi finals, if not Louis Suarez’ hand that denied the Black Stars a clear goal scoring opportunity in the injury time of their game against Uruguay in the quarter finals.
The Black Stars made it to their third consecutive FIFA World Cup in 2014, but were eliminated in disgrace.
The U-17 team of Ghana won gold medals in 1991 and 1995 in the FIFA U-17 World Cup and also finished runners-up in 1993 and 1997.
At the under 20 level, Ghana is the only African country to win the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2009 under the captaincy of Andre Dede Ayew and the technical direction of Sellas Tetteh.
Before that Ghana had finished runners-up in 1993 and 2001.
Although Ghana had won medals in boxing at the Olympics, they had to wait until 1992 to win a medal in football at the Olympics, when Sam Arday guided the Black Meteors to win bronze in Barcelona to achieve a mega feat as the first African nation to win a medal in football at the Olympics.
Michael Ahey :The first real star of track and field in Ghana won Commonwealth gold in 1962 and added a silver in the 100m sprint at the same event.
Alice Anum: The first lady of track won three medals at Commonwealth Games in 1970 and 1974 and was Africa’s most dominant sprinter and long jumper of her time winning three All Africa Games gold.
In 1962, Ghana’s 110m relay team of Michael Ahey, Bonner Mends, Bukari Bashiru and Michael Okantey won silver at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in one of the best races in the history of the games.
Margaret Simpson: The heptathlete won bronze medal in the 2005 World Championships in Athletics. She has 6 gold medals in both the All African games and Africa championships Athletics.
Aziz Zakari: The 100-metres sprinter has silver and bronze medals in the IAAF World Athletics final and 3 gold medals in the Africa Championships in Athletics.
Ignatius Gaisah: The long jumper, who recently switched his nationality to Netherlands won gold in All-Africa games, World Indoor Championships, Africa Championship and Commonwealth Games and also won silver in the World Championships.
Vida Anim also continued Ghana’s rich history in sprinting. She is the most decorated female sprinter in the history of Ghana athletics with 15 medals in the course of her career. Won a treble of gold medals at the 2006 African champions with victory in the 100m,200m and the relays.
Martha Bissah: The 18-year-old 800m runner won Ghana’s first Olympic gold with her win at the 2014 Games in Nanjing.
Ghana’s achievement in sports began in 1960, when Clement Quartey won silver medal in boxing, during the Rome Olympics.
A year after the Black Stars conquered the continent Eddie Blay, lifted the flag of Ghana high in Tokyo, during the 1964 Olympics by winning bronze medal in the men’s light welterweight.
Prince Amartey in 1972 won bronze medal in the men’s middleweight to become the third Ghanaian to win an Olympic medal.
David Kotey was a world featherweight boxing champion between 1975 and 1976 and was also the first Ghanaian professional boxer to win a world title. He was popularly called “D.K. Poison”.
Azumah Nelson is undoubtedly, Ghana’s greatest boxer of all-time and widely considered as the greatest African boxer ever. He is a three-time world champion in two weight classes. Between 1979 and 1989, he fought 33 bouts, won 32 and lost just 1. Azumah Nelson held the Featherweight and the Super Featherweight titles for a period of 10 years from 1984 to 1994, something which is unprecedented in that division. He was selected to the international hall of fame in 2004.
Ike Quartey: Won the WBA welterweight title with victory over Crisanto Espana in 1994 and was a regular headliner of major fights.Fought Hall of Famer Oscar de la Hoya in one of the fights of the year in 1999.
Nana Yaw Konadu: He is one of the notable names in boxing, winning the WBC Super Flyweight Title in 1989.
Joseph Agbeko won the IBF Bantamweight title, when he dethroned, Louis Alberto Perez in 2007.
Joshua Clottey defeated Zab Judah in 2008 to become, the IBF Welterweight champion.