Prime News Ghana

Year of Return: How it ended in 'tears' for Ghana sports in 2019

By Vincent Ashitey
Year of Return: How it ended in 'tears' for Ghana sports in 2019
Year of Return: How it ended in 'tears' for Ghana sports in 2019
facebook sharing button Share
twitter sharing button Tweet
email sharing button Email
sharethis sharing button Share

2019 was supposed to be a year Ghana will achieve soo much to crown the Year of Return celebration, but it didn't turn out that way on the sporting level.

The ‘Year of Return’ is a national campaign urging all Ghanaians in the diaspora to make a trip to Ghana in 2019 to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown, Virginia in the Americas.

On the sporting side, Ghanaian-American professional wrestler Kofi Kingston made the trip to Ghana after winning his WWE title. 

Below PrimeNews looks at how Ghanaians were disappointed in 2019 and why it is a year Ghana Sports will not like to remember.

Black Stars

“Teamwork is at the heart of every success. Without it, you cannot succeed in football, and as it is, in every enterprise,” President Akufo-Addo stated, as published on the Government of Ghana website.

“Teamwork means all of you have to work for each other. Religious, ethnic and other divisions do not advance teamwork.

“You are the Black Stars of Ghana and it doesn’t matter whether you’re from Jamestown or Nalerigu or Walewale, you’re the Black Stars of Ghana.

“Helping each other to win is the sort of teamwork I’m talking about.

“So, your slogan, that is [Ghana’s] slogan of the year – ‘The year of return’. This indeed is the year of return.” those were the words of the first gentleman of the land tasking the Black Stars to bring home the trophy.

The fifth AFCON trophy has eluded Ghana for quite sometime now and all hopes were on the team to break the 37-year jinx as it was termed the 'Presidential Project' that saw the team provided all that they needed to win Ghana's fifty trophy

But it rather turned out to be one of Ghana's shambolic performance at the Africa biggest football showpiece. The Black Stars crashed out of the tournament at the round of 16, 6-5 on penalties to Tunisia a team that had never beaten the four-time Africa champions at any tournament.

The Presidential Project failed as Ghana went without a medal in 2019.

Isaac Dogboe

In May 2019, Isaac Dogboe had the second chance of reclaiming the WBO Super Bantamweight title he lost to Mexican boxer Emanuel Navarette in December 2018.

Losing the first fight via a unanimous decision 115-113, 116-122, 115-113 in favour of the Mexican. Ghanaians expected Dogboe to fare better in the rematch although they believe the Dogboe was too quick to honour the fight.

It wasn't any different in the rematch as the Emanuel Navarette defeated Isaac Dogboe by TKO in Round 12 to retain his WBO title.

Black Satellites 

Black Satellites quest for the ultimate at the U-20 AFCON in Niger saw an early exit at the group phase. Jimmy Cobblah charges couldn't make it out of the group after a bright start in the opening game.

In August at the African Games, The team suffered the same fate, this time with a different manager in Yaw Preko. A group containing Burundi, Senegal and Mali proved too strong for them.

Black Meteors

The Meteors had to battle hard in their last qualifier against Algeria in Algiers to get a slot for the U-23 Afcon which meant if they do well they can secure a slot to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

After Ghana's qualification in Algiers Tanko said their target is to get to the Olympics games.

Well, the hopes faded when Ibrahim Tanko's charges lost 5-4 on penalties against South Africa to miss out on the slot for Olympics.

Since 2004 in Athens the Black Meteors have not stepped foot at the Olympics games again.

Kotoko, Ashgold

Asante Kotoko and AsantiGold did not cover themselves in glory as they both were eliminated from the CAF inter-club competitions.

AshantiGold were crashed out of the Confederation 4-3 on aggregate by RS Berkane despite winning the first leg 2-0.

Kotoko had a second chance of fighting for a trophy after being booted out of the CAF Champions League with their former coach Kjetil Zachariassen stating that the Confederation Cup was their level.

“This [CAF Confederation Cup] is our level at the moment. We are in Confederation Cup, I think that’s the right level for us,” Coach Zachariassen told Kotoko Express App after the match.
“We’ve got to have to be realistic. We’ve got to be realistic because we have only worked together for three months.”

However, it proved to be just a mere statement as his charges failed to sail past San Pedro in the playoff of the Confederation Cup, losing 2-1 on aggregate.

Black Stars B

Black Stars couldn't retain the WAFU to have it for keeps having hosted and won in 2013 and 2017 respectively. Ghana lost in the final to Senegal.

Moreso, Ghana missed on qualification to the 2020 African Nations Championship after losing 1-0 on aggregate to the Stallions of Burkina Faso beat the Black Stars

Since losing the 2014 finals in South Africa, Ghana has now failed to qualify for the last two tournaments played in Rwanda (2016) and Morocco (2018).

Ghana athletes

Moving on to Athletics, Ghana’s men’s relay team did a yeoman's job by clinching Gold at the African Games ahead of Nigeria which saw the athletics ahead into IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar in high confidence.

But in Doha, the quartet of Sean Safo-Antwi, Benjamin Azamati, Martin Owusu-Antwi, and Joseph Paul Amoah effort weren't enough as they finished sixth to miss out on qualification to the final of the 4x100m.

Joseph Amoah also failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the men’s 100m as the female relay team of Owusu-Agyapong, Gemma Acheampong, Persis Williams Mensah and Hor Halitie also failed to make the final of the 4x100m women’s event after finishing 7th.

Black Queens

Further agony for Ghana is when the Black Queens hopes of qualifying to their maiden Olympic Games tournament were crashed following the 1-0 defeat to Harambee Starlets of Kenya at the MISC Kasarani Stadium.

Richard Commey

Ghana's last hope rested on the Azonto boxer following Isaac Dogboe losing his title to Navarette.

Commey won the IBF title in February 2019 and produced a master class in his first defence Knocking out Ray Beltran in round 8.

This shot him to the bigger stage as he stated it is every fighter's dream to box at the Madison Square Garden.

However, the stage overwhelmed the Bukom native boxer when lost the title to Challenger Teofimo Lopez after being floored in round two to the Brooklyn boxer.