KickerGH presents a breakdown of the key facts and figures that have characterised Ghanaian participation in club football’s biggest fixture
By: Sammie Frimpong
As his Atletico Madrid take on city rivals Real Madrid on Saturday in this season’s Uefa Champions League final, uncapped Ghana midfielder Thomas Teye Partey would be hoping to join the five-man honour list of his countrymen who have won the game’s most coveted club trophy: Abedi Ayew (Olympique Marseille; 1992/93), Ibrahim Tanko (Borussia Dortmund; 1996/97), Samuel Osei Kuffour (Bayern Munich; 2000/01), Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan; 2009/10) and Michael Essien (Chelsea; 2011/12).
There’s been more to Ghanaian involvement in the Champions League final than just those successes, however, and, below, we present a breakdown of the more relevant statistics and the accompanying facts:
0 – Never have two successive finals featured Ghanaian footballers. The minimum interval, a two-year gap, has occurred five times.
0 – None of the finals was marked by a Ghanaian goal, with only Ayew — whose 43rd minute corner-kick was connected by teammate Basile Boli to settle the 1993 classic — making a direct scoring/match-winning contribution.
1 – Of the lot, only Ayew tasted action in the competition’s old format, the European Cup, representing Marseille in the 1991 final lost to Red Star Belgrade via a shootout.
2 – On just two occasions did a Ghanaian player fail to make it to the pitch; Essien watched Chelsea pip Bayern 2012 from the bench, while Tanko wasn’t even in Dortmund’s matchday squad for the battle with Juventus 15 years prior.
3 – Three of the five — Ayew, Kufuor and Essien — have had the experience twice, each losing his first.
3 – German clubs have had the most representation by Ghanaian players in the final: three. France and England boast two each, and Italy one.
3 – The number three features once more, with a trio of the lot being midfielders (although Essien started the 2008 final at), followed by one forward (Tanko) and defender (Kuffour) apiece.
5 – Five of the finals saw their Ghanaian participants start, all of them lasting the full course.
7- The longest period between two appearances in the final of a Ghanaian footballer has been seven years, between Kuffour’s appearance in the 2001 final and Essien’s in 2008’s.
8 – The quintet has been involved in a total of eight finals, with all but three of those occasions proving successful.
551 – The total number of minutes (including extra-time but minus injury time) on the pitch of all Ghanaian players across the eight matches.