On this day 23 February 1964 (Exactly 57 years ago today) The Black Stars of Ghana beat the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) 3-0 in a friendly match in Accra.
In majesty came the famous maestros of Central Europe, the national team of German Democratic Republic. They had conquered Czechoslovakia, 1962 Fifa world cup silver medalists.
But the Black Stars of Ghana, the official soccer emperors of Africa excelled themselves and outshone the visitors in every department of the game in their international match at the Accra sports stadium.
The goal scorers were centre forward Wilberforce Mfum (brace) and Aggrey Fynn.
In a colourful 45 minutes first half, the Black Stars combined speed with dexterity and compelled the visitors to acknowledge the fact that they were up against real exponents of the game.
In the first three minutes, the visitors desperately survived a well directed onslaught by the Black Stars. Both sides soon settled down.
But the brilliant story of the Stars was yet to be written. After uneventful 25 minutes, the Black Stars sethemed devastating moves which completely confused the visitors.
With the visitors’ defence totally panicky, bulldozer Wilberforce Mfum sent a pile- driver from Adarkwa’s through pass and before goalkeeper Heinsch could see the ball, Ghana had taken the lead.
The goalkeeper’s astonishment could better be imagined than described. While the visitors were still meditating over this shock experience, Mfum again gave an arrow shot from 30 yards for Ghana’s goal number two in the 34th minute.
Ghana continued to show brilliance for the rest of the first half but no more goals were scored.
Ghana’s Eleven had to take on G.D.R.’s eighteen in the second half of the game. Mesmerised, the visitors made no fewer than five changes within the first 15 minutes of the second half.
But this could not provide the magic balm for soothing their soccer wounds opened by the “super” brilliance of the Black Stars.
Five minutes after the last change, Aggrey Fynn decided to dish out a soccer lesson to the visitors.
With precision and absolute confidence, he dribbled four men in the G.D.R. defence and thoughtfully shot past on rushing goalkeeper Heinsch for Ghana’s third goal.
Ghana settled down to delightful football for the rest of the period during which the visitors were obliged to appreciate and absorb reluctantly good soccer lessons from the champions of Africa.
Ghana Line-up: Dodoo Ankrah; Crentsil, Anum; Ben Simmons, Addo Odamety, Aggrey Fynn; Kwame Adarkwa, Agyemang Gyau, Wilberforce Mfum, Edward Acquah, Mohammed Salisu
GDR Line-up: Heinsch; Urbanczyk (C), Heine, Krampe; Kaiser (46. Pankau), Körner (46. Seehaus); Stöcker, Erler (46. Fräßdorf), P. Ducke, Liebrecht (46. Kleiminger), R. Ducke (65. Vogel)
Referee: Frank Mills (Ghana)
Goals: Mfum (25′, 34′), Aggrey-Finn (71′)
On this day 23 February 2002 (Exactly 19 years ago today) Raymond Narh knocked out champion Smith Odoom at the Accra Sports Stadium to become the new national and West African featherweight champion.
The fight ended in the 10th round when a cornerman of Odoom rushed into the ring, forcing referee Godfrey Cobbla to halt proceedings and award Narh the title by a technical knockout.
Odoom had been decked by a barrage of thunderous punches from the challenger and as he rose, he staggered into a neutral corner panting for breath and instead of throwing in the towel, his cornerman vaulted into the ring to signal that he had had enough.
It was an action packed fight from the first round with Odoom carrying the fight to his younger opponent who avoided the bombs of the champion by jabbing persistently to keep him at bay.
From the second round, Narh who won a gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games took over the pace of the fight and stunned his opponent with a series of combination punches, while his left hand kept popping like a piston into the champion’s face.
The fight slowed down a little bit in the fourth round while Odoom sought the big punch but anytime he fired, Narh either ducked or back pedalled, making the champion miss wildly.
The next round painted a picture of glory for the challenger as he dominated and staggered the stocky champion with some straight rights to the head.
From that moment, it was a one way traffic and Odoom remained at the receiving end while Narh jabbed, bobbed, ducked and stung him at will.
Narh had Odoom in trouble most of the time but lacked the killer punch to end the fight and sometimes the champion had to find solace on the ropes to remain on his feet.
The challenger appeared complacent in the ninth round as he discarded his style and attempted to mix it up with the champion, making him vulnerable to three big punches, which visibly hurt him. He ended the round beating the retreat and trying to stay away from further action.
Narh came back strongly in the tenth round and hemmed Odoom in a neutral corner, pummelling him persistently with everything he had in his arsenal but the game champion absorbed all the punishments until he was caught with another barrage of power shot in the red corner.
He slumped into the ropes, then onto the canvas and when he rose at the count of seven, he appeared dazed and his corner intervened to save him from further punishment, thus enthroning Narh a national and West African champion after only his fifth professional fight.
But by jumping into the ring instead of throwing in the towel, the Ghana Boxing Authority announced that disciplinary action would be taken against Odoom’s corner for violating the rules.
The Ghana Boxing Authority later dismissed a protest lodged by Mr Emmanuel Armah, manager of dethroned Super Featherweight Champion, Smith Odoom.
A statement signed by Justus A. Agbeko, secretary of GBA, said the GBA had accepted the findings and recommendation of its disciplinary committee, which dismissed the protest of Mr Armah that the new champion’s camp used foul means to win the fight.
The statement said, Mr Armah complained in a protest among others that upon entering the ring, a liquid was thrown into Odoom’s face from supporters behind Narh’s corner and that while the fight was in progress various object such as stones were thrown at Odoom and his seconds. Additionally, they claimed that some of the rounds travelled beyond the stipulated three minutes. Odoom’s manager therefore called for an immediate rematch.
But the GBA stated that after evaluating the testimonies of the various parties, the committee was unanimous in it findings that there was absolutely no merit in the protest to warrant an immediate rematch.
It said though there was an incidence of stone throwing, there was no evidence to suggest they came from Narh’s corner and directly aimed at Odoom. Accordingly, the GBA has dismissed the protest by Mr Emmanuel Amarh, but fined other persons found who had misconducted themselves during the bout.
Mr Kwartei Quartey and Mr Raynox Narh were to pay 50.000 cedis each for gross misconduct during the fight. Boxers Emmanuel Clottey, Joshua Clottey and Malik Jabir were issued stern reprimands for their conduct
On this day 23 February 2011(Exactly 9 years ago today) Former President of the Ghana Football Association, (GFA) Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi was elected to serve on the CAF Executive Committee.
He was elected by the 33rd General Assembly of the Confederation of Africa Football after polling 34 votes to beat his opponent Anjorin Moucharafou, President of the Benin Football Federation, who received just nineteen votes.
On this 23 February 2017 (Exactly 3 years ago today) Claudio Ranieri was sacked as Leicester City manager, less than a year after their shock title victory, with the club still in the Champions League, but just one point outside the relegation places. He was succeeded by his assistant Craig Shakespeare, who guided them to a 12th placed finish.
On this day 23 February 1906 (Exactly 115 years ago today) The only Canadian-born World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Tommy Burns knocked out Marvin Hart at Pacific A.C., Los Angeles, California, USA
The first to travel the globe in defending his title, Tommy made 11 title defences despite often being the underdog due to his size. Burns famously challenged all comers as Heavyweight Champion, leading to a celebrated bout with the American Jack Johnson.
According to his biographer, Burns insisted, “I will defend my title against all comers, none barred. By this I mean white, black, Mexican, Indian, or any other nationality. I propose to be the champion of the world, not the white, or the Canadian, or the American. If I am not the best man in the heavyweight division, I don’t want the title.”
On this day 23 February 1938 (Exactly 83 years ago today) Joe Louis Barrow “Brown Bomber” defeated Nathan Mann by third round knockout at the Madison Square Garden, New York, USA. Retained World Heavyweight title.
BY: GEORGE ‘Alan Green’ MAHAMAH