Former Ghana captain Stephen Appiah has spoken in glowing terms about his respect for Ghana’s 1992 Africa Cup of Nations squad, describing it as the best Ghana squad he saw.
Appiah captained the Black Stars to a first ever world cup appearance during which they reached the second round.
That side packed with world beaters like Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien and Appiah himself has often had a good shout as the best from Ghana but Appiah goes with a different one, the 1992 side that reached and lost the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal.
“For me it was the 1992 squad. We had Edward Ansah, Nii Dodoo Ankrah, our former coach Kwesi Appiah, Frimpong Manso, Emmanuel Armah, Tony Baffoe, Stanley Aborah, Nii Odartey Lamptey ,Tony Yeboah,” he told 3news.com’s Yaw Ofosu Larbi an Instagram Live Conversation with Betway.
“When we were growing up, these were the players we were watching, wanted to be like. It was amazing watching them at the Africa Cup of Nations.”
That 1992 side was coached at the tournament by the German Otto Pfister after his compatriot Burkhard Ziese had qualified the competition for the tournament following an eight year absence.
Appiah’s international career started as a junior with the Black Starlets in 1995 when he earned a late call up for the U17 World Cup after he impressed in his debut season with Hearts of Oak.
He went on to play at the 1997 Africa Youth Championship and then the World Youth Championship in Malaysia later that year. He also represented Ghana at 2004 Olympics but had made his Black Stars debut before then, playing at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations which Ghana and Nigeria co-hosted.
In addition to that 2000 Africa Cup of Nations squad, the former Juventus midfielder was a member and captain of the side that crushed out of the Africa Cup of Nations in the group stage in 2006, captained Ghana to a first ever world Cup later that year, missed the 2008 and 2010 Afcons through injury but was on hand to play at the 2010 World Cup under Milovan Rajevac.
He was a bit part player in the 2010 side that became only the third African team in history to reach the quarterfinal of the world cup and while Appiah says that squad was special for a lot of reasons, he is no doubt the 2006 one was the best he played in.
“The 2006 squad was something else. The players on the bench were equal to those on the pitch,” he said. “When we played against USA, we all saw Haminu Dramani’s performance but he didn’t start our first two games. Derek Boateng was as good as myself and Michael Essien
“At the back, Shila Illiasu replaced Osei Kuffour against Czech Republic and we saw his performance. It was an all round team. Those who were on the bench as good as the first 11. Michael Essien was playing so well at Chelsea and Muntari was playing very well too. We had Asamoah Gyan was performing in his club, Olele was like a stopper. It was an all round team.”