AFCON Profile: Ghana
Last Updated: January 18, 2012 10:26am
Ghana head into the 2012 edition of the African Cup of Nations as one of the favourites to lift the trophy
Ghana head into the 2012 edition of the African Cup of Nations as one of the favourites to lift the trophy come the 12th of February in Libreville, Gabon.
The Black Stars became only the third African team in history to reach the World Cup quarter-finals during the 2010 tournament in South Africa, cementing their position as a powerhouse on the continent along with fellow favourites Côte d'Ivoire.
The sub-Saharan nation initially played under the name 'Gold Coast' before the Ghana Amateur Football Association was founded soon after the country's independence from Britain in 1957. Today, however, it is known as the Ghana Football Association.
One year later Ghana became members of Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), and in 1963 they successfully bid to host the fifth AFCON instalment and also lifted the trophy by beating Sudan 3-0. They successfully defended the trophy two years later.
During its history, Ghana has produced some of the Africa's most revered players with Abédi Pelé, Michael Essien, Tony Yeboah, Ibrahim Abdul Razak and Samuel Kuffour in CAF's top 30 best African players of all-time
PREVIOUS AFCON INVOLVEMENTS:
Ghana are four times champions (1963, 1965, 1978 and 1980) which makes them the second most successful team in the tournament's history behind Egypt.
The Black Stars came agonisingly close to earning a fifth title in the 2010 competition, but they slumped to a 1-0 defeat to the Pharaohs in the final.
The Black Stars boast a star-studded squad, that combines both youth and experience, with several players plying their trade for top European teams.
Midfielder Sulley Muntari, a Champions League winner with Serie A outfit Inter Milan, will act as the enforcer in the middle of the park, while Olympique de Marseille brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew, sons of Ghana legend Abedi Pelé, will lead the team in attack.
Veteran defender John Mensah makes his fourth appearance at the African showpiece, but midfielder Michael Essien is out injured while Kevin-Prince Boateng announced his retirement last year.
Goalkeeper Richard Kingson also misses out through injury with Adam Larsen Kwarasey from Norwegian side Strømsgodset to fill in between the sticks.
ONE TO WATCH:
Striker Asamoah Gyan has scored 27 goals in 54 appearances for the Black Stars , and is currently on loan at United Arab Emirates club Al Ain from Premier League side Sunderland.
In 2010 he was named in the Africa Cup of Nations Best XI, won the BBC African Footballer of the Year award and earned a FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist nomination.
Despite suffering a hamstring injury prior to the tournament, Ghana felt the 26-year-old had sufficiently recovered and was included in the final squad.
FIFA Rank: 29
Coach: Goran Stevanovic
Captain: John Mensah
Nickname: Black Stars
Best AFCON finish: Champions (1963, 1965, 1978 and 1980)
Previous AFCON finish: Runners-up
Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey, Daniel Adjei, , Ernest Sowah
Defenders: Lee Addy, Masawudu Alhassan, John Boye, Samuel Inkoom, John Paintsil, John Mensah, Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Opare, Isaac Vorsah
Midfielders: Charles Takyi, Sulley Muntari, Derek Boateng, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Andre Ayew, Anthony Annan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Mohammed Abu
Strikers: Prince Tagoe, Asamoah Gyan, Jordan Ayew