Ghana's all-time best team- Odartey chooses Abedi, Yeboah, Appiah

Author: George Ernest Asare
Nii Odartey Lamptey
Nii Odartey Lamptey

Former Black Stars great, Odartey Lamptey, has named 'maestro' Abedi Ayew Pele, Anthony Yeboah, Kwesi Appiah and Opoku Nti as the leaders of his Ghana's all-time Odartey names Abedi, Yeboah, Appiah in all-time dream team which he said could have made a significant impact at the world stage.

In all departments of the game, Lamptey, a former midfielder of RSC Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven, Aston Villa and other clubs across  Europe, Asia and South America, named his best performers from different eras in a squad he believed could have conquered Africa and the world if they had played together.

The onetime world's best juvenile player named himself in his dream team in an interview with the Graphic Sports.

He opted for Salifu Ansah (goalkeeper), Haruna Yusif (right back), Kwasi Appiah (left back), Sampson Lamptey and Ahmed Rockson (central defence), Adolf Armah and Kofi Badu (midfield) with Yeboah, Ayew and Nti in attack.

Lamptey overlooked the exploits of some of the great players after his era who led Ghana to three FIFA World Cups, including Stephen Appiah, who captained the Black Stars to their maiden FIFA World Cup in 2006, Ghana’s all-time leading top scorer, Asamoah Gyan, and midfield general, Michael Essien, who was one of the world’s leading players during his time at Chelsea.

Justifying Ansah’s selection , Lamptey noted that the former Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko goalie was not only aggressive in post but also versatile in taking on all 50-50 balls. He described Ansah as “very agile, with quick reflexes and superb in aerial balls”.

Lamptey, however, explained that he chose Ansah over former Ghana and Kotoko legend, Joseph Kweku Carr, in post because he played with the former unlike the latter whom he only heard of but never saw playing.

“I will go for Salifu Ansah in goal post. I have heard about Joseph Carr and others but never saw him playing. That explained why I have selected Salifu Ansah,” he noted.

“With Salifu Ansah, I played with him in the Black Stars so I know who is in the post. Salifu was not only aggressive in the post to ward off dangerous attacks, but was versatile in taking all 50-50 balls.   He was very agile, with quick reflexes and superb in aerial balls, so I was always confident when he was behind me,” he added.

With Haruna Yusif at right back, Lamptey said he was sure of a superb overlapping to join the attack and fall back to defend.  He said watching him as a kid, Yusif was full of stamina and contributed immensely to many victories of Asante Kotoko and the Black Stars.

“At the right full back, I will go for Haruna Yusif of Kotoko. I saw him as a kid. His overlapping to join the attack and fall back to defend was superb. He was full of stamina and contributed immensely to many victories of Kotoko and the Black Stars. Haruna was simply excellent,” he said.

Whilst choosing Kwasi Appiah at left back, Lamptey described his play mate with the Black Stars as a very smart player on the ball who was difficult to beat.

He explained that the immediate past trainer of the Black Stars team was very calm but very difficult to bully in matches and that speaks volume of his choice.

In central defence, he preferred Hearts’ Sampson Lamptey because of his quality in the air, comfortable nature in handling ball and his ability to surge forward when necessary and return quickly to defend.

His partner, Ahmed Rockson, was branded by Lamptey as a cool gentleman who always defended to keep his team in control.

“Sampson Lamptey of Hearts of Oak takes the central defence position. He was good in the air, comfortable with the ball and surges forward when necessary and returns quickly to defend.

“Ahmed Rockson is my next choice to partner him. He was a cool gentleman like Kwasi Appiah, very cool and collected and always defended well to keep his team in control,” Lamptey noted.

Former Hearts midfielder, Adolf Armah, was Lamptey’s best holding midfielder as he described him as a gifted left-footed player with excellent long and short passes who could dribble a lot to score as well.

He explained that the midfield powerhouse was a player who usually propelled the attackers to surge forward to open the defence of their opponents during his heyday.

“The midfield position will go to Adolf Armah. I heard much about both Abdul Karim Razak and Ibrahim Sunday, but never saw them play. However, I saw Adolf and his style of play.

“He was a midfield general and always propelled the attackers to surge forward to open the defence of their opponents. Armah was a gifted left footed player with excellent long and short passes and could dribble a lot to score as well,” Lamptey affirmed.

In selecting Kofi Badu for the right wing position, Lamptey said he was an extraordinary player with the ball who was very fast, good dribbler, difficult to wrestle the ball from whenever attacking and scoring as well.

Picking himself in the inside-right position, Lamptey refused to blow his own horns by stating that everyone in the country knows his qualities on the field.

Anthony Yeboah, who made a name for himself at Leeds United was described in centre forward as strong and gifted player who can score with both legs and the head.  He was branded a team player who can take on defenders and give assists when necessary.

“You know my qualities so I need not to tell you more, but the centre forward is Anthony Yeboah. He was very strong and gifted player who can score with both legs and the head.

“A team player who can take on defenders and gave assists when necessary. In Europe he was superb and with the Black Stars he was unmatchable.”

Lamptey, however, named maestro Abedi Ayew Pele as a player who has no peer in his position. Seen as a legend since 1982, Lamptey noted that, “The Inside-left goes to the maestro, Abedi Ayew Pele. Abedi has been a legend since 1982 and has no peer in his position.”
Finally, Opoku Nti was Lamptey’s best bet for the outside-left position after he described him as good dribbler, fast on the ball and good ball distributor.

“Opoku Nti was instrumental in Kotoko’s CAF Africa Cup victory in 1983 and for many victories for the Black Stars. He was a good dribbler, fast on the ball and good ball distributor.”

Meanwhile, Lamptey named the likes of Kwadwo Addae Kyenkyenhene, Hesse Odamtten, Mohammed Odoom, Francis Kumi, Stephen Appiah and Asamoah Gyan and Kofi Abbrey on his bench.