Sarah Almas: Ghana is getting a chance to play on the main stage of World Cup football for only the fourth time. However, they have the experience of playing the quarter-finals in the World Cup. Although the current time is not going very well for the African team known as ‘Black Stars’. But the coach of the team, Otto Hodo, is sure that Ghana will return to success in the World Cup in Qatar.
Ghana in international football:
The independent Ghana Football Federation was formed in 1958. However, since 1920, the organization called Gold-Coast existed as a British colony. Ghana hosted the African Cup of Nations in 1963 on its own soil. Ghana beat Sudan 3-0 in the final of the tournament. In 1965 in Tunisia, Ghana retained the crown of the best in Africa. This time they beat Ivory Coast 3-2 in the final. Later in 1978 and 1982, Ghana won the best tournament in Africa. In addition, he lost five times in the final.
Ghana has won the African Team of the Year award three times.
Ghana’s best stars:
Abedi Pele is undoubtedly the best Ghanaian footballer of all time. Not only Ghana, he is one of the best in the history of Africa. This skilled midfielder has scored 19 goals in 73 matches for the country. Apart from his own country, he played in Qatar, Switzerland, France, Italy club football. In the 1992-93 season, Olympique Marseille won the UEFA Champions League. He became the best of the year in Africa three times. Ghana won the African Nations Cup in 1982 and played in the final in 1992. He won the ‘Golden Ball’ for the best player of that season. In 1993, Ghana became the best of the year. And in 2011, the legendary ‘Golden-foot’ was given. Abedi Pele is the owner of 157 goals in 479 matches in his club career. According to the French football magazine, he was the African player of the year three times. And in 1993, he received BBC’s Africa of the Year.
Asamoah Gyan has to be considered as one of Ghana’s greatest footballers of all time. He has played a joint maximum of 109 matches for the country. Scored the highest 51 goals in Ghana jersey. He is the only footballer to play three World Cups for Ghana. Played maximum 11 matches for the country in the World Cup. He has six goals in the World Cup. Which is Ghana’s highest 217 goals in 416 matches in club football. This forward has played in well-known clubs like Udinese in Italy, Sunderland in England, and Rennes in France. In addition, he has set foot in the United Arab Emirates and China. He finished his career playing in the Indian ISL. In 2010, he was considered the best footballer of the African continent by the BBC. In addition, he was second in the same year in the African Best of the Year. He battled it out with Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’o to be the best. However, the fate was not favorable in the end. Gyan has been Ghana’s Player of the Year three times. He became the best goal scorer of the Asian Champions League in 2014. In the same year, he was selected as the best foreign player of the AFC. In 2010 and 2015, he could not bring the team to the final of the African Nations Cup.
Anthony Yeboah, Michael Essien, Karim Abdul Razak should be kept among the other greats of Ghana.
Ghana in World Cup:
Ghana’s World Cup debut in 2006 was a 0-2 loss to Italy. However, in the next match, Ghana defeated the Czechs to win their first World Cup victory. Asamoah Gyan scored Ghana’s World Cup debut in just 2 minutes of the match. After defeating America in the third match, Ghana reached the knock out stage. Although there they have to lose to Brazil.
Ghana had the best success in 2010. Defeated Serbia in the group stage. Draw against Australia. Although they lost to Germany in the last group match, they became the second best in the knock out stage. A 2-1 loss to them means America there.
Ghana had to leave after losing a controversial match in the quarter finals. Ghana were awarded a penalty in a 1-1 draw against Uruguay. Luis Suarez used his hand to save a sure goal for Ghana. He sees a red card in this. And Gyan, Ghana’s record holder for the most, wasted penalty chances. Ghana later lost the tiebreaker. In fact, any World Cup quarter-final is a ‘curse’ for African countries. Many controversial events are going on since that England vs Cameroon match. Which continued in Ghana and Uruguay match.
In 2014, Ghana did not make it to the group stage. And did not get the chance to play on the 2018 World Cup stage.
So far, Ghana has played 12 matches and won 4 in the World Cup. Draw three and lost five matches. Ghanaian players have scored 13 goals and conceded 16 in the World Cup.
Road to Qatar:
Ghana had a great fight with South Africa in the ‘G’ group in the African region. Points were equal 13 in six matches of the two teams. Head to head was even. In the end, Ghana won the group with only 1 goal difference. Get a playoff ticket. Ethiopia and Zimbabwe were also in this group. Ghana faced 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in 6 matches. So is South Africa. But Ghana scored 7 goals in six matches and South Africa scored 6 goals. Ghana narrowly advanced to the play-off round.
Ghana could not beat Nigeria in the play-offs. Ghana drew 0-0 in their own field. And the result of the match was 1-1 in Super-Eagles field. That is, Ghana is coming to the World Cup with a lot of luck due to away goals.
The current stars of the team:
The lack of world class stars in Ghana’s current squad is noticeable. However, Arsenal’s midfield star Thomas Parte is the current star. He also played at Atletico Madrid in his club career. Here he won La Liga, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup. Played the Champions League final. The number of matches in club career is 331 and goals are 28. Scored 2 goals in 15 games for the Gunners in the 2022-23 season. He has 13 goals in Ghana jersey. He scored the team’s maximum three goals in the last World Cup qualifiers. In 2018 and 2019, he was the Ghanaian of the year.
André Ayew has played the most 109 matches in the current team. The 32-year-old winger scored 23 international goals. He is the owner of the most goals in the current squad. In 2011, he received the title of the best African footballer of the BBC. In the same year, he was the best of the year in Ghana. Played in club football in France Marseille, England Swansea City, West Ham. Qatar’s Al Saade has played the last two seasons. Therefore, he is already familiar with the environment of Qatar in the World Cup. He has the potential to do something good by capitalizing on this familiarity.
Inaki Williams is also in the Ghana team. Who also played 1 match for Spain national team, against Bosnia. Spain has experience playing in age groups. Spain-born 28-year-old forward Inaki is Ghanaian by mother. He joined the Ghana national team in 2022. Played only two matches. His inclusion in the Ghana squad for the World Cup is a special event. There is no doubt that it will increase the strength of the party. Inaki has been playing for Athletic Bilbao since 2014. He is the owner of 78 goals in 355 matches for this club.
In the forward line, Jordan Awi, playing at Crystal Palace, Osman Bukari at Red Star Belgrade, young midfielder Mohamed Quddus playing at Ajax or Idrissu Baba of Mallorca are the hope of the team.
Recent Performances and Coach’s Expectations:
The year 2022 is going to be very bad for the Ghana national football team. They had to withdraw from the group stage of the African Nations Cup in January. Out of 12 wins came in 2 matches. One of which is Nicaragua and the other is with a weak team like Madagascar. They also lost to Japan and Qatar in Asia.
The coach of the team, Otto Addo, was appointed in 2022. Ghana finally managed to get the World Cup ticket. But there was more touch of fate than his achievement. However, Otto Addo is optimistic about his squad in the upcoming World Cup. He thinks that the Ghanaian footballers will give their best in the World Cup. Former footballer John Paintsil, who played 89 matches for Ghana, expressed the same optimism. He told the BBC, “We have confidence in Otto Addo.” He understands his work. He will give us a good squad and eleven in the World Cup. We know he will not let us down. “
Ghana’s World Cup Squad:
Goalkeepers – Abdul Nooruddin, Richard Ofori, Joe Walcott
Defence- Daniel Amartey, Joseph Aidoo, Alexander Djiku, Tariq Lamptey, Gideon Mensah, Denis Odoi, Mohamed Salisu, Baba Rahman, Alidu Seidu
Midfield – Majeed Ashimeru, Iddrissu Baba, Mohamed Quddus, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh
Forwards – Thomas Partey, Felix Afena-Gyan, Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Osman Boukari, Joel Famayeh, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, Joseph Paintsil, Kamaldeen Sulemana, Inaki Williams
Target for World Cup:
Ghana’s first challenge is to top Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea from the ‘H’ group and reach the knock out stage. Among the teams going to participate in the World Cup, Ghana is the most backward, ranked 61 in the FIFA ranking. Where Portugal 9, Uruguay 14 and South Korea 28. It is true that Ghana is not in a very good position at the moment, no matter how good the FIFA ranking is.
Ghana will take the field in the first match against Portugal on November 24 in the World Cup. The second match is on November 28, against South Korea. And in the last match of the group on December 2, Ghana will take the field against the two-time World Cup champions Uruguay.
World Cup football is a stage where unexpected events are very common. No one thought that Ghana will play the quarter finals in 2010 as well. But World Cup football brings a different energy to any team. It is expected that Ghana will do something unexpected in 2022 from the expectation of matching their best on the world stage.