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Sports News of Thursday, 19 May 2022

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Chris Briandt: The first Ghanaian footballer to play with boots

Former Black Stars captain, Chris Briandt

There cannot be a Ghanaian football history without the story of Christian Briandt's getting a mention.

Arguably, his biggest impact in Ghana football is championing the course of transition from 'barefoot' football to playing football with boots.

Football was everything to Briandt, and therefore will do everything to enjoy the game.

Due to his passion for the sport, he wished a football match could never end.

"I loved the game so much that any time a referee whistled for the end of a match, I became sad and rather wished that the game would never end and I also tried as much as possible not to violate the rules," he said as quoted late SWAG general secretary, Richard Korku Avornyotse in his article 'Profile of Emmanuel Christian Briandt'.

Chris Briandt was a top-class defender who broke through the Hearts of Oak team at age 19, establishing himself as one of the best players in the country. He was named skipper for Phobians in his 20s.

In 1951, he got a deserving call-up to the Gold Coast XI for a United Kingdom tour.

Chris led the team against Artena League at just 21 years and he led Ghana to a 4-3 victory.

"In our first match under my captainship, we beat Artena League 4-3 and it was a big surprise because we had lost the previous match in Wales by an incredible 1-10 scoreline.

Seeing his opponent play with boosts inspired him to buy a pair of boosts on the trip back to Ghana after the tour.

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According to Chris he was forced to miss a big clash between Accra XI and Kumasi XI to inaugurate the Accra Sports Stadium.

The opponent insisted that he cannot be part of the Accra team if he will use boots. Their reason is still a mystery.

"I paid seven shillings and sixpence to watch the match and it was the first time that Kumasi XI had beaten Accra XI in Accra."

"The fans protested that I should return to the team and based upon their demands, I was recalled and other players began trying their feet in boots," he added.

The argument on whether to use boots or play barefooted was settled in 1955 when Ghana played Nigeria in the Jalco Cup match.

Chris narrated that the media opposed the decision to use boots for a crucial game against Nigeria.

However, the players who had found love in playing football with boots went ahead with their decision and hammered Nigeria 7-0.

"The resounding victory of our team killed the debate of playing or not playing in boots," Chris said.

Chris Briandt is regarded as one of the greatest defenders Ghana has produced which led Sports Minister Ohene Djan to fly him together with other two players to Germany for a coaching course.

After successfully passing out, he rejected the Black Stars job which made him a public enemy.

To the public, the nation had wasted resources on a man who turned down the nation without a valid reason.

"I am a pacifist. I have forgiven all those who caused me pain and branded me a spy, a CIA agent, and a traitor for believing in the principle of good judgment when I declined to coach the national team.

Despite the difficulties, I went through, I don't regret playing football for my country and if I could do it again, I will be glad to." Chris said.

Years later, it was revealed that Chris Briandt ran away from the job after finding out that the Sports Minister and GAFA president was chasing his wife Wilhelmina Briandt.

Chris Briandt passed away in 2008.

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