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Sports News of Friday, 28 April 2017

Source: sportscrusader.com

Ghana’s Finest 22: Stephen Appiah on the spotlight


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Stephen Appiah, a one time jewel in the books of Ghana football, will forever be remembered for his unending affection for the game. His stature, a typical Afro-midfield icon, connotes a celebrated Ghanaian footballer par excellence.

The Chokor born has left vivid imprints in the minds of many football enthusiasts as he provided innumerable moments of joy, hope and pride during his spell with the senior national team, the Black Stars.

Born December 24, 1980, ‘il Capitano or Tornado’ as he is popularly being referred to,announced himself on the local scene as a messiah , joining Accra Hearts of Oak in 1995. His breathtaking performance for the Phobians made him a prodigy with numerous clubs clamoring for his signature.

In 1997, Appiah joined Udinese after a stellar season with Hearts of Oak, the beginning of a legendary status for the soon to be global star. The Ghanaian import played alongside stars like Oliver Bierhoff (Germany), Márcio Amoroso (Brazil), Mohammed Gago(Ghana) in a glamorous list of super stars.

Having spent three seasons and 36 appearances for Udinese, Parma expressed interest in the signature of Appiah, the club that will unleash Appiah to the football world. Then a pop star footballer, the Chorkor born Ghanaian blew his hair in much the same way he blew defenders apart at the turn of the millennium.

Appiah spent two seasons with Parma before been farmed out to Brescia where Appiah played alongside Roberto Baggio and Pep Guardiola in the 2002/2003 season.

His exploits for Parma and Brescia alerted Juventus to his talents as the Serie A giants coughed out 2 million USD in the summer of 2003 to secure Appiah’s services on loan. It only lasted 9 months before the loan deal was made permanent due to his artistry on the pitch whiles defending the Bienconeri.

Appiah sparkled his football career in the colours of Juventus, before heading to Istanbul in 2005. Appiah moved to Turkish giants Fenerbahçe in 2005 where he was voted footballer of the year (2007) in Turkey
having help them win numerous trophies.

The then aging Black Stars skipper had short spell at Bologna (2009-10), Cesena(2010-11),Vojvodina (2012-2013) on his list of featured clubs.

On the international front Appiah led Black Stars to their first ever global football roaster in 2006 in Germany. His memorable goal against USA powered the Black Stars into the knockout phase where they were eventually eliminated by Brazil.

Appiah also led the Black Stars to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, as Ghana made history by being the third African side to make it to the quarter-finals of the mega football event in the World.

Appiah’s 68 appearances and 17 goals for the BlacK Stars demonstrates an illustrious international career this midfield gem has had during his time with the Black Stars.

Indeed, words cannot describe how patriotic Appiah’s was, with regards to his willingness to serve the nation with all his all, as he is considered a Ghanaian Football semi god and adored as such.

Appiah has twice won the Ghana Footballer of the Year (2005, 2007) and was named in the 2006 African Cup of Nations All-Star Team of the Tournament.

The ever smiling Appiah ,has been nominated for a place in the “Ghana’s Finest 22” alongside Dan Owusu(Bofoakwa Tano) Emmanuel Quarshie (Sekondi Hasaacas), C.K Gyamfi(Hearts of Oak) Jones Attuquayefio (Real Republikans/Great Olympics) for the number eight position.

The public can vote for their favourite player by texting the names to shortcode 1458 across all networks.

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