As the end of the year draws closer, it is only natural that we fall back into a reminiscing mood looking back on what has happened.
The end of year juncture usually serves as a good nostalgic checkpoint to segment and assess the biggest stories in Ghana sports.
Here, the Joy Sports team have chosen our top 10 biggest sporting stories in the year 2019. As you wade through them, we hope you’ll be overwhelmed with memories of the highs and lows in the year under review.
Kotoko end wait for a group stage appearance in Africa
The year started with Asante Kotoko qualifying for the group stage of a CAF inter-club competition for the first time since 2008. Kotoko had tried but failed until this year when they got it right.
The Porcupine Warriors secured their place in the Confederation Cup thanks to a 5-3 aggregate victory over Cameroon giants Coton Sport. Kotoko claimed a surprised 3-2 win in Cameroon before wrapping up the tie with a 2-0 win in Kumasi.
Isaac Dogboe fails to solve Naverette conundrum
After the shock defeat last year to lose his world title, Dogboe travelled to Tucson, the USA with the hope of redeeming himself and recapturing the super bantamweight title.
But he was totally outclassed by the taller and more effective Navarette before a predominantly Mexican crowd at the Tucson Convention Center the chain of punishments in the rounds was brought to an end when father and trainer Paul Dogboe threw in the towel in round 12.
The post-bout saw his father exclusively tell Joy Sports that he wants his son to quit the sport and go back to school. Dogboe is currently working on his return to the ring next year.
Asamoah Gyan shock Black Stars retirement
Ghanaians were left bemused when Asamoah Gyan announced he will not represent the Black Stars again.
He announced his decision with a month to the start of the Africa Cup of Nations. But what triggered this? Certainly, something wasn’t right for Ghana’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Rightly so, Gyan’s decision was due to the fact that head coach Kwesi Appiah had decided that he won’t wear the armband at the tournament.
Appiah preferred Andre Ayew to wear the armband as substantive captain while Gyan serves as ‘General Captain’.
It took the intervention of President Akufo Addo for the issue to resolve as Gyan returned to the team for the tournament. However, Kwesi Appiah’s decision stood as Ayew led Black Stars in Egypt.
After the tournament, Gyan in an interview on Joy FM’s Morning show lamented the manner in which he was side-lined as captain.
Ghana suffers worst AFCON performance in 13 years
Events preceding the tournament had left Ghanaians with faint hopes of the Black Stars producing a stellar performance and in the process ending trophy drought.
But Ghana suffered a round of 16 exit at the hands of Tunisia on penalties. This is after struggling to make it past the group stage. Ghana accumulated five points from a group containing Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau.
It was the team’s worst Africa Cup of Nations performance in 13 years. They had reached semi-finals in six straight tournaments – including two finals.
Ghana spent $4.5m at 2019 AFCON
Few days after the tournament, the Sports Minister Isaac Asiamah revealed at parliament that the country spent $4.5million at the tournament, the same amount paid as prize money for the winner, Algeria.
He said the country budgeted $6.3million but with the Black Stars exit at the 1/16 stage in a match against Tunisia, the country saved $1.7million.
He provided the breakdown of the expenses incurred with the highest budget item being accommodation at $1.14million while visa fees at $8,541 was the lowest.
Ghana win gold in men’s 4x100m relay at African Games
In August, Ghana won gold in the men’s 4×100 meters relay at the 2019 African Games in Morocco.
Team Ghana, with the quartet consisting of Joseph Paul Amoah, Benjamin Azamati, Martin Owusu-Antwi, and Sean Safo-Antwi, tallied 38.30 seconds to bag the gold medal.
Ghana ended the competition with a total of 13 medals – two gold, two silver and nine bronze.
Junior Agogo dead
Still, in August, Ghanaians received the shock news of the death of former Black Stars striker Junior Agogo. He was 40.
A family source confirmed his death to Joy News but would not confirm the cause of death.
At 35, the former Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday striker suffered a stroke in January 2015. He was featured in a 2017 BBC documentary titled Speechless where he revealed his struggles with speech.
Agogo was cremated in September. Read More
He made 27 appearances for Ghana and scored 12 goals. His best Black Stars moment came at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations where he scored the winning goal against Nigeria in a quarter-final clash.
Bukom Banku wins first fight outside Ghana
In September, popular boxer Bukom Banku hog the headlines, this time for the right reasons, after winning his first fight outside Ghana.
He dropped his German opponent in round three at St George Hall in Bradford, UK.
Banku was billed to fight Ferenc Albert but the Hungarian boxer pulled out at last minute, with organizers replacing him with Bilgetekin.
He received rapturous welcome upon his return to the country.
Osei Palmer disqualified from GFA presidential elections
One of the frontrunners for the GFA presidential race, Wilfred Osei, popularly known as Palmer, was disqualified by Normalisation Committee acting as the Elections Committee.
Palmer was disqualified on two grounds.
He breached Article 33 (5) (c) of the GFA regulations which relates to player transfers.
The NC also cited his comments after the Black Stars’ failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Palmer said Ghana would have qualified for the tournament if money was made available to pay unclassified and indemnity payments to referees.
His appeal was rejected so he sent the case to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The verdict final is yet to be delivered.
Kurt Okraku becomes new GFA President
With Palmer disqualified, the number of presidential aspirants reduced to six namely Kurt Okraku, George Afriyie, George Ankamah Mensah, Fred Pappoe, Nana Yaw Amponsah and Amanda Clinton.
The six went head to head and Kurt Okarku emerged as President.
He won the elections after three rounds of voting. He stood unopposed in the third round after his closest rival George Afriyie pulled out of the race.
The only female candidate, Amanda Clinton, who had dominated many of pre-election discussions had zero vote.
Prior to the presidential elections, regional and executive elections were held to constitute new GFA administration.
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