Although Ghana is relatively new to the international football stage, in just three FIFA World Cups they’ve become a dreaded side for any country to draw.
One of the reasons for their trip to the round of 16 in 2006, the quarterfinals in 2010, and their surprise draw with eventual champions Germany in 2014 was due to having some of the most dynamic players in the world representing their country, something club teams everywhere are finding out as they scout and sign more and more Ghanaians.
Watching these exciting players from Ghana in the World Cup, the African Cup of Nations, and in major club tournaments is in part what makes betting on football so fun, something that millions of people around the world have already discovered.
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Below are five the best Ghanaian players of all time that always made (or make) a match you wagered on that much more exciting
Despite being only 16 at the time, SulleyMuntari burst onto the U-20 international scene at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championships by helping Ghana finish as tournament runner-up. This performance set the stage for a superb club career with the likes of Udinese, Portsmouth, Inter, Sunderland, and AC Milan..
After a rocky international start due to being sent home from the Athens Olympics 2004 team and then refusing to play for his country ever again at age 21, Muntari eventually had a successful career with the Black Stars, too. From 2002-2014, the midfielder scored 20 goals in 84 appearances as a regular in the Ghana lineup, including at three World Cups and two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
2. Michael Essien
“The Bison” is one the most diverse players to ever come out of Ghana (or Africa, period). A box-to-box mid that can also play defender, Michael Essien’s utility was essential in his illustrious club career at sides like Lyon, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Milan. His move to Chelsea was, at the time, the most expensive signing for the Blues ever and also made him the most expensive African footballer in history. Essien was more than worthy of his price tag, as he was crucial in helping bring two league titles, three FA Cups, and one league cup back to London.
For Ghana, Essien made his name known in the 1999 and 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championships, where he helped the Black Stars win bronze and silver, respectively. From then on he was a regular in the senior team’s XIs, representing Ghana in the 2006 and 2014 World Cups as well as in three ACON tournaments.
3. Samuel Kuffour
Staying with any top-tier club for 11 seasons shows remarkable consistency, but doing it with a power like Bayern Munich is something very few players in the world can do. But that’s what defender Samuel Kuffour did from 1993-2005, climbing the ranks from the youth squad to the first team where he helped Germany’s most successful club win six league titles, eight league cups, and the 2000-01 UEFA Champions League.
For his country, Kuffour gained his first cap as a 17-year old and before that was part of youth teams that won the FIFA U-17 World Championship in 1991 and finished runner-up at the same tournament in 1993. In 1996 he became the youngest Olympic medalist in football at just 15 years old, and he also helped Ghana to the 2006 World Cup (at which he also played).
The top scorer and most capped player in Ghana National Team history, AsamoahGyan first became known in his own country by scoring ten goals in 16 matches with Ghanian Premier League side the Liberty Professionals. But after a single season in his home country, Gyan would soon become known across most of Europe after stints with Serie A’s Udinese, Ligue 1’s Renne, and the English Premier League’s Sunderland, where he broke the club’s transfer record on his four year, $13 million move there.
While he never took a home a major club title in Europe, the striker was instrumental in all three his country’s World Cup appearances. His six goals in the game’s biggest tournament are good enough for first all time among African players, and his performance in 2010 was a large part in helping him win African Footballer of the Year honors from the BBC. Gyan’s well-decorated career also includes three medals from the six African Cup of Nations tournaments that he played for Ghana in.
5. Abedi Pele
Abedi Pele (born AbediAyew) never made it to a World Cup, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t one of Ghana’s–and Africa’s–greatest footballers of all time. After hopping around to various clubs in Europe and Africa the first seven years or so of his career, Pele found a home in France with Lille and Marseille, who with the latter he was named Man of the Match in their European Champions League Final victory over Milan in 1993.
With Ghana, “The African Maradona” appeared 63 times, including in his five African Cup of Nations from 1982-1998. In those ACON tournaments he won Player of the Tournament in 1992 and brought Ghana home a championship and runner-up medal in 1982 and 1992 respectively. Among his many other accolades, Pele was voted the 3rd best African player of the century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.