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Sports News of Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Ghana’s maiden World Cup heroes: Where are they now?

Last Thursday marked exactly 14 years since Ghana played its first match at the World Cup.

Paired in a group E with Czech Republic, United States and eventual winners Italy, the Black Stars overcame their opening game blip to advance to the last 16 stage with wins over Czech and US.

It has been almost a decade and half of ups and downs for each of the 23 players with only a handful still in active football.

GhanaWeb brings up you to date with the whereabouts of all the players who were under the tutelage of Serbian coach Ratomir Dujkovi?

Richard Kingson

Olele, as he is popularly known, kept the post in all four matches played by the Black Stars.

He proved to be a reliable figure in post for Ghana with a string of important displays, particularly against the Czech Republic.

Kingson has now retired from football and now acts as a goalkeepers’ trainer.

Sammy Adjei

Sammy ‘Bamako’ Adjei was Ghana’s safest pair of hands in the qualifiers and was at the peak of his prowess. He, however, lost his place to Richard Kingson in the lead to the tournament and sat on the bench throughout.

The Heart of Oak legend has not officially retired from football but has been unattached for close to five years.

George Owu

Owu was Ghana’s third-choice goalkeeper, a role he played in his Black Stars career. Owu was always preferred as a back up to either Adjei or Kingson.

Just like Adjei, the former Kotoko goalie did not enjoy a single minute at the tournament.

His last club was Ashgold where he impressed for the Miners. He is without a club now.

Hans Sarpei

Sarpei was the young guy in the team and was restricted to only bench duties.

He did not enjoy a single minute at the World Cup Sarpei, after hanging his boots spends most of his time in Germany where he made his coaching badges.

He is currently working his way up in the low-tier of German football and occasionally features as a TV pundit.

Samuel Osei Kuffour

Kuffour was one of the most experienced figures in the team.

The then AS Roma center-back was at the twilight of his glittering career.

Kuffour’s error which led to Italy’s second goal happens to be the last memory anyone will have of him in a Ghana jersey.

He has retired and recently served as a member of the FA’s Normalization Committee.

John Mensah ‘The Rock of Gibraltar’ was ever-present in all four games and was a pillar in the heart of Ghana’s defense.

The 37-year-old has been club-less since leaving Swedish second-tier side Athletic FC United.

Officially he has not announced his retirement but it is safe to conclude that the towering defender has given up on professional football.

Emmanuel Pappoe

Addoquaye Pappoe was Ghana first-choice left-back at the World cup. A consistent figure in the qualifiers but was restricted to only two games at the World Cup.

After several years abroad, Pappoe returned to Liberty Professionals in 2013 but little is heard of him recently. He is unattached now.

Shilla Illiasu

One of the surprises of the World Cup. After Kuffour’s gaffe against Italy, Illiasu who went to the World Cup on back of solid season at Kotoko was drafted in, to partner John Mensah.

He impressed greatly and according to him, his performance impressed Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger who tried without success to sign him.

Injuries plagued his promising career and the 37-year-old is into farming now.

Habib Mohammed

One of the local players who made the squad for Ghana’s first World Cup. Habib stepped in for Pappoe in two of the four games and impressed greatly.

He is currently without a club.

John Paintsil

A popular figure in the team whose commitment is touted by many as an example for young players. Painstil was Ghana’s first-choice right-back and was good at his job.

Paintsil has retired from professional football after some years with South African side Kaizer Chiefs.

He was billed to be the head coach of Legon Cities but did not materialize. He now carries the tag as their chief scout.

Dan Quaye

The Hearts of Oak legend was an unused player in the tournament. His performance at club level earned him a place in the final 23.

Dan Quaye returned to Great Olympics after some years in China. He has retired now.

Issah Ahmed

The former Kotoko defender played no part in Ghana’s four matches. He left Kotoko for Renders after the tournament but was released in 2011.

The 38-year-old is inactive currently.

Michael Essien

Essien was Ghana’s biggest star heading into the tournament and the Bison delivered for his country.

Essien played the three group games but was made to watch the 3-1 thumping to Brazil in stands due to accumulated cards.

Essien now plies his trade in the Azerbaijan league for Sabail FC.

Derek Boateng

Derek enjoyed some minutes as a substitute. The rasta-haired midfielder replaced Otto Addo in the second match against Czech Republic.

The former Fulham, Eibar and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk midfielder has now has hanged his boots.

Stephen Appiah

Tornado was Ghana’s skipper and his leadership qualities have been praised as a factor for Ghana’s successes.

Appiah scored a penalty in the 2-1 victory over the US.

Stephen Appiah retired with a farewell match that featured some of his favorite teammates. He is now on a coordinator for Ghana’s national teams.

Sulley Muntari

Another good servant for Ghana football. Sulley played all four matches and scored a stunner against Czech.

The 35-year-old is without a club but has been linked with a move to Accra Hearts of Oak.

Eric Addo

Eric Addo is one of the few players who played in all four games. The PSV legend is serving as a coach in their ranks after hanging his boots.

Otto Addo

The lanky winger had quite an impressive tournament for Ghana and made 15 appearances in total.

He worked his badges is now a coach in Germany. He was appointed as ‘talent trainer’ for Bundesliga side Dortmund in 2019.

Haminu Dramani

Dramani will always be remembered for the bender against the United States.

The speedster made a mark in his first game at the world cup. Dramani’s last official club was Estonian side FC Tallinna Infonet.

Asamoah Gyan

The man, the myth, the legend. The Baby Jet scored Ghana’s first-ever goal with a well-taken shot past then highly-rated Petr Cech.

Ghana’s all-time goal scorer is currently unattached following the expiration of his contract with NorthEast United.

Alex Techie-Mensah

Techie-Mensah was another member of the squad who did not make any appearance.

Injuries forced the striker to end his career in 2009 and he has been pursuing coaching since.

He is the Youth Head Coach of FC Frauenfeld

Matthew Amoah

Ahead of the tournament, expectations were that Amoah would bang in the goals for Ghana but country exited the tournament with Amoah not registering a single goal.

He made 43 appearances for the national team, scoring 13 goals. Now 39 years, Amoah is a coach for the youth side of Dutch club NAC Breda.

Razak Pimpong

Pimpong was popular for his physique and made three appearances at the World Cup.

37-year-old Pimpong has quit football and now spends his time developing young players in Denmark. He also features occasionally as a pundit.

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