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17 June 2016

Ghana’s 2006 squad. Where are they now?

Sammy AdjeiTen years have passed since then and we Pulse Sports writer Isaac Darko takes a look as to where the historic 23 man squad of Ghana are now.

The Black Stars qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2006. The squad was filled with talent, youth, experience and amazing superstars who helped Ghana to reach the knock-out stage after beating Czech Republic and the USA in a group that was topped by eventual winners Italy.

Ten years have passed since then and we Pulse Sports writer Isaac Darko takes a look as to where the historic 23 man squad of Ghana are now.The order of the players is according to the jersey numbers they donned during the tournament. Let us start off with one of the best goalkeepers to don the Black Stars jersey, Sammy Adjei.

#1 Sammy Adjei

 

Before the 2006 World Cup, Adjei was at the peak of his powers and he is still considered as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. He was the first-choice goalkeeper for the national side until the Mundial in Germany, when Richard Kingson rose to prominence. Adjei was however part of Ghana’s 23-man squad but failed to make an appearance at the tournament.  After losing his position to Kingson, Adjei started suffering a dip in form and fitness which led to him being dropped from the starting XI of his Israeli club FC Ashdod.  Adjei was again called up to join the Ghanaian national team in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations as the second choice goal keeper, after which he retired from international football.  The 35-year-old is currently unemployed after he was axed by the club two years ago.

#2 Hans Adu Sarpei

 

The former Wolfsburg defender was more of a squad member than a regular starter in the Ghana 2006 World Cup squad. He didnt make a single appearance at the Mundial. Sarpei started his senior career with Fortuna Koln and he was considered to be a very promising talent. After playing in Cologne till 2000, he moved to Duisburg where he played for one season.  The longest spell of his career was spent from 2001-2007, playing for Wolfsburg. The defender who is now 39 currently played for Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke 04 between 2007 and 2012. Sarpei has now received a Uefa License A coaching certificate after completing his coaching course. He can now manage any club in the German Bundesliga after satisfying the main requirement under Uefa regulations. Sarpei started his coaching career in September 2013 when he joined the technical team of German lower division side, Tus Bruchhausen.

#3 Asamoah Gyan

 

Gyan scored the fastest goal of the tournament after 68 seconds. The strike was also Ghana’s first ever goal in the FIFA World Cup, coming in the game against the Czech Republic on 17 June at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, Germany, which set the Black Stars on their way to a 2–0 victory. He missed a penalty later in the game, and received a yellow card ruling him out of the final group game for trying to take the penalty too early. In Ghana’s defeat to Brazil in the round of 16, he was sent off in the 81st minute after collecting his second booking of the match.

Currently lying his trade in Ghana for Shanghai SIPG, Gyan is now the captain of the Black Stars.

#4 Sammy Osei Kuffour

 

Kuffour made one appearance for his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, against Italy. After a costly mistake in that first match, a 0–2 loss, he was dropped for the next three games as Ghana bowed out in the round-of-16 against Brazil. The World Cup 2006 was supposed to be a swansong for one of the nation’s finest defenders but a costly mistake in the opening game of the tournament meant he never kicked another ball for the Black Stars and brought an unhappy end to an international career that had been nothing short of stellar. The veteran defender was present throughout the unsuccessful qualifying campaigns for the 1998, 2002 as well as the successful 2006 World Cups. Kuffour is currently a football pundit.

#5 John Mensah

 

A firm fan favorite for his fighting displays, Mensah always gave more than a 100% every time he played for Ghana. Regarded as one of the best Ghanaian defenders of his generation, Mensah was known for his commanding presence in the air, his composure on the ball and his intense commitment and ruggedness.  At World Cup 2006, Mensah started throughout the vast majority of the competition..A true leader and a motivator, Mensah was one of those players who worked unbelievably hard to make the most of his talents. Mensah had a successful playing career with Rennes and Lyon in France before moving to England where he starred for Sunderland before sustaining a career threatening injury. Now 33-years-old, Mensah joined Swedish second tier side Athletic FC United on a year deal in March.

#6 Emmanuel Addoquaye Pappoe

 

The left-back was regular throughout the qualifiers as well as the tournament. Addoquaye Pappoe made it onto the field twice – against Italy & Brazil – and both times in defeat.  He was substituted at half time in the opening game 2-0 defeat to Italy and was returned to the squad in the round of 16 loss to Brazil, where Ghana lost 3-0. He started his senior career with Liberty Professionals in 2001. He later joined FC Ashdod for two seasons before signing for another Israeli club Hapoel Kfar Saba in 2005.  Currently unemployed, Pappoe returned to Dansoman-based Liberty Professionals in 2013.

#7 Shilla Alhassan Illiasu

 

Shilla Illiasu was one of the few players who made the 2006 squad without participating in the qualifiers making it through on the back of good form in the local league with giants Asante Kotoko. With John Mensah, John Panstil and Habib Mohammed, he formed a rock-solid defense despite conceding four goals in the three games he played at the tournament. His impressive performances at the World Cup grabbed the attentions of a number of big European clubs. After trials at Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers he eventually joined Russian club FC Saturn. The stalwart defender has just started training after a long injury layoff.  After ending his contract with Armenian club Impuls Dilijan in 2013, the 33 year old nearly got his career truncated due to present injuries to his knee.

#8 Michael Essien

 

Essien was selected to be part of the team that represented Ghana at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. He played in midfield with team captain Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari. Essien played in Ghana’s 0–2 defeat to Italy, their 2–0 victory over the Czech Republic, and the 2–1 victory over the United States, and helped Ghana become the only African team to reach the second round of the 2006 World Cup. However, Essien was suspended for Ghana’s second round match against Brazil and could only watch as Ghana lost 0–3.

Essien was playing for Chelsea at the time of World Cup 2006. He later joined Real Madrid on loan 2012 and AC Milan the following season. The Ghanaian vetaran now plays for Greek giants Panathinaikos.

#9 Derek Boateng

 

“My best moment with the Ghana national team was during the 2006 Fifa World Cup game against Czech Republic,” Boateng told Spainish newspaper AS.

Derek Boateng became part of the history-making squad when he replaced Otto Addo at half-time in Ghana’s 2–0 win over Czech Republic in their second group game after losing the opener against Italy.

He was capped 46 times for Ghana, scoring one goal. The 32-year-old was also a member of the 2010 Fifa World Cup squad and made appearances in three different editions of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Boateng announced in January that he had joined American second-tier side Rayo Oklahoma City on a one-year deal.

#10 Stephen Appiah

 

One of the greatest midfielders in Black Stars’ history, Stephen Appiah was the captain and one of the key players in central midfield for Ghana. His partnership with Essien at the centre of the feild was crucial to Ghana’s progression to the quarter finals in the 2006 World Cup.

Appiah relies on exceptional creative passing, intuition and inventiveness to control the midfield and dictate the ebb and flow of play, as well as creating chances for team-mates and scoring goals himself, due to his vision, technique, aggressive tackling, and athletic attributues

He retired in 2015.

#11 Sulley Muntari

 

Muntari played in the first two matches, a 2–0 defeat by Italy and a 2–0 win over the Czech Republic, in which he scored, but having received a yellow cards in each game. He was suspended for the game against theUnited States, but returned for the second round match against Brazil, in which Ghana was eliminated.

Muntari was at Udinese during the World Cup, now, the Ghanaian is plyinghis trade with Suadi Arabia side Al Ittihad.

The 31-year-old was suspended indefinitely from the Black Stars along with Kevin Prince Boateng for what the Ghana Football Association described as disruptive behaviour during Ghana’s participation at the 2014 World Cup.

The player has not appeared for the national team since the tournament although has apologised to the country and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) for his part in the incidents which marred the country’s participation in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

#12 Alex Tachie Mensah

 

Tachie-Mensah, who spent seven years FC St. Gallen, retired on 9 June 2009. After his retirement, Tachie-Mensah became the Youth Head Coach of FC Frauenfeld, in August 2009. He is currently the manager of Switzerland division two side Kreuzlingen.

13# Habib Mohammed

 

Habib Mohammed was a key part of Ghana’s defensive unit at the World Cup in 2006. His contributions at left-back were critical throughout the tournament.

He was one of the key players in the King Fiasal squad, helping the club to play well in the CAF Confederation Cup 2005.  Habib like Illiasu made the squad on the back of good performances in the local league. Habib was brought in as a replacement to Kuffour in the latter matches of the tournament pushing Shilla Illiasu into the centre of defence. The defender is currently unattached.

#14 Matthew Amoah

 

Amoah was an instrumental figure in Ghana’s first qualification for the World Cup. Despite failing to scoreat the Mundial, Amoah bagged three goals in three consecutive and important qualifying matches.

He made 43 appearances for the national team, scoring 13 goals in his international career. Juanito made four appearances in the tournament and put in a pretty solid performance. He was a Borussia Dortmund player at that time. He later had spells at NAC Breda and Heracles Almelo.

In January 2016, the 35-year-old signed a six-month contract with Dutch amateur side VV Baronie.

#15 John Paintsil

 

Paintsil is regarded by many as one of the most committed national team players of his generation with his constant heed to national team call-ups. Paintsil made the squad after being heavily involved in the qualifiers and played in all the matches. Paintsil has been a constant figure in the squad since then and after a brief drop in the pecking order he made the cut for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

#16 George Owu

 

George Owu was the formidable backup to Sammy Adjei in the qualifiers and proved his worth while keeping a clean sheet in the one match which Adjei missed. A 2-0 away win over South Africa which all but qualified the Black Stars for the tournament in Germany. He also played a part in the second-leg of the playoff stage of the qualifiers making way for Adjei at the start of the second half. Owu like Adjei never actually made it onto the field in the tournament but was present in the qualifying stages. Owu’s position with the national team has always been as a solid backup to the current keeper culminating in him making just nine appearances for the four-time Africa champions. He is currently contracted to a lower division side Sekondi Eleven Wise after leaving Premier League side Ebusua Dwarfs.

#17 Daniel Quaye

 

Dan Quaye was regarded as one of the great defenders on the local scene all though that never showed in his career with the national team. A part of the famous Hearts of Oak team of the early parts of the century, Quaye made his debut in a qualifier for World Cup 2002 but will not feature again until he had a run in the 2006’s qualifiers. He never got onto the field in the tournament though and it always remained a case of what might have been with respect to the defender’s career with the national team. Quaye has played a lot of his football in China and is currently contracted to Ghana Premier League side Great Olympics.

#18 Eric Addo

 

He was a member of the Ghanaian squad at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, playing in all four of Ghana’s games including the exit to Brazilin the second round. His last game for Ghana was against Mexico in an international friendly in London, UK on 26 March 2008.

Addo spent the majority of his career form 1999-2009 in PSV. He later played 2 seasons at Roda JC before returning to PSV again in2012.

He is currently studying a coaching course in the Netherlands.

#19 Razak Pimpong

 

Pimpong was called up for the Ghanaian squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, making three appearances against Italy, Czech Republic and the USA in the group stage.

He was playing for FC Copenhagen at the time of the World Cup. After a successful spell at Copenhagen, he moved on to Viking where he played for 2 years and Viborg, where he played for four years.

Pimpong is now retired and a TV pundit in Copenhagen.

#20 Otto Addo

 

Although born in Germany, Addo made his debut for Ghana coming in a 5–0 rout of Eritrea on 28 February 1999, and shot to international prominence when he led the nation in the 2000 African Cup of Nations.

Addo won the German league with Dortmund in 2002, the same year that the team were beaten by Dutch side Feyenoord in the Uefa Cup final, with Addo a second-half substitute.

Currently, Addo has been appointed the assistant coach of Danish side FC Nordsjaelland. The 40-year-old has previously worked as a scout for the Black Stars as well as an assistant at German side Hamburg

#21 Issah Ahmed

Issah Ahmed never got onto the field at the World Cup but played in the qualifiers and seemed to impress enough to make the squad. Ahmed joined Danish side Randers FC in Denmark after the tournament and stayed there till he was released by the club in 2011. It seemed he will join his old club Asante Kotoko but the deal never came to fruition. Ahmed  never managed to hold down a permanent spot in the national team and is currently inactive.

#22 Richard Kingson

 

Ghana’s first-choice keeper for the World Cup, Kingson was called-up for the team after the qualification had been secured managing to oust then top dog Sammy Adjei from the number one spot with good displays in the warm-up games.

He kept post for all the matches at the global fiesta producing some memorable saves as Ghana managed to reach the Round of 16 in the tournament. Kingson is currently inactive after spells in England with Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Blackpool and Great Olympics of Ghana.

#23 Haminu Draman

 

coach Ratomir Dujkovic surprised the Ghanaian press by including Draman in his World Cup squad, over more established wingers such as Charles Taylor and Laryea Kingston.

Draman made two appearances in the tournament with his most important contribution being scoring the opener in Ghana’s 2-1 over the USA in a last group stage game.

Cazorla was at Gençlerbirliği during the Mundial, now, the Ghanaian has signed a two-year deal for Estonian side FC Tallinna Infonet.

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