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Karim Abdul Razak

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Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Kumasi, Ghana

Karim Abdul Razak Tanko is a Ghanaian football coach and former midfielder. He played for several clubs in the 1970s and 1980s, notably the local club Asante Kotoko and the New York Cosmos in the defunct North American Soccer League (NASL).

Popularly called the "Golden Boy", Razak also played for the Ghana national team, helping it win the 1978 African Cup of Nations. He was named African Footballer of the Year later that year.

Razak, who also played for clubs in the UAE, Egypt, and Ivory Coast, was ranked by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 2007 as one of the confederation's 30 best footballers of the previous 50 years.


Razak was born in Kumasi to Alhaji Abdul Karimu and Hajija Ishatu. He studied at Asem Boy's Elementary School. He started his playing career at local youth team football, before moving to Kumasi Cornerstones in 1972.

In 1975, he moved to Ghana's most successful club, Asante Kotoko. After a four-year spell with Kotoko, during which he became a member of the national team and earned the 1978 African Footballer of the Year award, Razak left Ghana in 1979 for the New York Cosmos of the NASL, where he played alongside former World Cup winners Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto.

In 1981, after spending almost two years at the New York club, the Ghanaian forward decided to return home, signing with his former club Asante Kotoko. After one year, he moved, this time to Al Ain of UAE, where he spent two seasons.

Razak then signed with Arab Contractors of Egypt, where he spent the next two years of his playing career. before returning to Ghana for a third spell with Kotoko. After another five years with the Ghanaian club, Razak moved to Ivorian side Africa Sports of Abidjan, where he retired two years later.

Razak was a member of the Ghana national team that competed at the 1978 African Cup of Nations as hosts of the tournament. He scored two game-winning goals, one against Zambia in the first round, and another one to defeat Tunisia 1–0 in the semi-finals.

His decisive goal against Tunisia has been referred to as the "Golden Goal". Ghana defeated Uganda in the final, winning their 3rd continental title. In good part due to his effort to help Ghana win the African Cup, Razak was named African Player of the Year months later, becoming the second of three Ghanaian players ever to win the award.

According to a UEFA report, Razak appeared in a total of 70 international matches for Ghana, scoring 25 goals.

After retiring from playing, Razak, who had become a player-coach while at Al Ain, started his coaching career, being in charge of several semi-professional Togolese clubs, before moving to Benin's AS Dragons FC de l'Ouémé.

In 2000, he had a short spell as an assistant coach of the Ghana national team. After leaving the Ghanaian side, Razak went to Mali, where he won the Malien Premiere Division and cup double with Stade Malien. The club did not lose any matches on its way to winning the title.

In 2003, he was appointed the coach of Kumasi Asante Kotoko and helped the club win their first local league in ten years. He was discharged his post after the 2003–04 league season, eventually returning to Stade Malien for two additional seasons.


In a 1999 poll held by the IFFHS to select the best footballers of the 20th Century, Razak ranked 31st among African players, and in 2007, he was selected as one of the 30 best African footballers of the previous 50 years by CAF, through internet voting. Razak's career titles and individual honors include:

With clubs

Asante Kotoko

1981, 1986, 1987 Ghana Premier League - Winner

1978 Ghanaian FA Cup - Winner

1988 Ghana SWAG Cup - Winner

New York Cosmos

1978, 1978 North American Soccer League season - Winner

1980 Trans-Atlantic Challenge Cup - Winner

Al Ain FC

1983 Joint League Cup - Winner

Arab Contractors SC

1983 African Cup Winners' Cup - Winner

Africa Sports

1989 Côte d'Ivoire Premier Division

1989 Côte d'Ivoire Cup

1989 Coupe Houphouët-Boigny

With national team

1978 African Cup of Nations – Winner


1978 African Footballer of the Year

1978 Best Afcon Player

1984, 1985 Egyptian Player of the Year