We profile the greatest outings of the Appiah-led generation of Black Stars
By: KickerGH Staff
Legendary Ghana skipper Stephen Appiah has described the Black Stars’ 2-0 win against Czech Republic at the 2006 Fifa World Cup as ‘the best we played in our generation’.
“Our campaign was built on character,” Appiah added in an interview with Accra-based 3FM last week. “We could have folded up after the Italy loss, but we responded superbly.”
At KickerGH, though, we don’t exactly agree with him. Ghana’s best game of his generation?
Here are our picks:
GHANA v URUGUAY (SOUTH AFRICA 2010)
It had a 40-yard Sulley Muntari stunner, the Black Stars dominating play against a South American side, along with some composed defending — oh, I speak of arguably the best game of the Appiah era: Ghana against Uruguay in that now [in]famous 2010 Fifa World Cup quarter-final.
Amazing midfield dominance, dazzling forward runs and well-tailored passes flowed from the Ghanaians, a pattern which, in turn, set into motion the bizarre, inexplicable events that followed. Regardless of the ensuing anticlimax, the resilience of the Stars still added up to make this perhaps their finest outing in Appiah’s time, with the ‘Tornado’ himself joining the fray late in the second half for his part in the concluding drama.
GHANA v SOUTH AFRICA (GERMANY 2006 QUALIFIER)
“Our fate is no longer in our hands” was all vanquished South African coach Stuart Baxter could utter after goals from Matthew Amoah and Michael Essien stunned a packed FNB Stadium and effectively killed off any dreams the Bafana Bafana had of reaching Germany 2006.
On the day, captain Appiah and his team-mates proved more composed, dedicated and infinitely more professional than their opponents as they put in a heroic performance to complete a 5-0 aggregate conquest over a hitherto tough customer for the Stars.
GHANA v BRAZIL (GERMANY 2006)
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking — Ghana lost that game 3-0, right?
Well, yes, but believe me rarely has there ever been a defeat that seemed to leave a nation as content as this one. The Stars put up a display which echoed all the core tenets of the game this side of the Atlantic and left the country feeling rightly proud. There was skill in abundance as well as some amazing grit and a very large dose of bravery. Put together, those ingredients contributed to serve a game memorable for many great reasons — given, of course, that you could afford to look beyond the result.
Again, we beg that you ignore the outcome and see Ghana’s first-ever game at a World Cup for what it really was: a day of glory, a refreshing dawn, and an overflow of grace and heart. The Stars, though debuting on the global stage, were unfazed by the occasion and those lights brighter than anything they’d ever been used to, with Italy only wrapping the win courtesy an Andrea Pirlo moment of brilliance and a most unfortunate defensive gaffe. The reverse — which Appiah referred to at the outset — gave Ghana impetus to chalk successive victories in subsequent games and, considering that the Azzurri themselves went on to win the tournament itself, there was little shame in that opening loss.
GHANA v IVORY COAST (GHANA 2008)
After Cameroonian Alain N’Kong’s goal in the Afcon 2008 semi-final trashed Ghana’s host-and-win plans, the nation only had the third-place match, against western neighbours Ivory Coast, to salvage something from. The Stars took an early lead through Muntari but were pegged back by a Boubacar Sanogo double by half-time. Unwilling to end the tournament with nothing, and spurred on by the horde in Kumasi, Ghana roused itself for a thrilling finale during which the team scored three times in the contest’s last 20 minutes. For sheer drama as well as the sight of the Stars battling with all they had, this just tops the bunch.