20 times the Black Stars broke Ghanaians' hearts

Football is a game which brings diverse feelings-It could be bitter or great in the end.

20 times the Black Stars broke Ghanaians' hearts

Most sports fans troop to the stadia or sit behind their tv set or listen to their radios with the expectation of experiencing a nostalgic moment.

However, it is not always the case since some leave the stadia with heartbreaks and bitterness in their hearts because their idol club or favourite players let them down on that occasion.

Ghana is a football nation and the first President of the Republic used it as a tool in his quest to achieve African Unity in the 1960s.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah used the Black Stars as a political tool to address injustice in the world and that was the more reason why there was no African representation in the 1966 FIFA World Cup staged in England.


Undoubted Ghanaians love their football and they are passionate about the sport, so it is no surprise that after major setbacks some people lose their lives.

Pulse Ghana has taken a journey down memory lane to enumerate some of the major heart-breaking moments suffered by Ghana in their football history at the senior level especially as today marks exactly 10 years since Black Stars failed to emerge as the first African Country to reach the semis of the FIFA World Cup.

1964 Olympics quarters: Ghana 1-5 Egypt

Ghana set a date with their African counterparts Egypt in the knockout stage of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Black Stars took the lead through Wilberforce Mfum and the Egyptians drew level before half time.


But Ghana threw away the lead and conceded four goals as they lost 5-1 against the Pharaohs of Egypt (a results which still stands as the highest defeat suffered by the West African Nation in a competitive game).

1968 AFCON final- Ghana 0-1 DR Congo

Ghana were prevented from winning the AFCON for a record three consecutive times, as they suffered a defeat against DR Congo in the final.

Ghana were the best nation on the African continent, having won the 1963 and the 1965 AFCON and they were given a major boost following the return of Wilberforce Mfum, who missed the 1965 AFCON through injury.

Ghana beat DR Congo in the group stage and they faced off again in the final after they both overcame their respective semi-finals tests. DR Congo came out strongly and defeated Ghana 1-0 through Pierre Kalala’s lone goal.


1972 AFCON Qualifiers

Ghana failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time since, making their debut in 1963.

Ghanaians were certain of jumping the hurdle when they were drawn against their less-fancied side Togo in 1971.

The Black Stars earned a goalless draw in Togo in the first leg, but they were given the shock of their lives when their Eastern-border neighbour handed them a 0-1 defeat in the reverse fixture in Ghana.


The aftermath of the game was that there were calls for the dissolution of the Black Stars.

1988 Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) qualifiers: Ghana 1-2 Sierra Leone

Ghana airlifted the senior national team of war-torn Sierra Leonia with the Ghana Airforce Plane to the country after the former failed to appear for an AFCON qualifier.

Instead of the game happening on a Sunday it took place on a Monday at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Dumbula scored twice for the Leone Stars and Abdul Aziz pulled one back for the Black Stars.


Ghana failed to qualify for the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations as a result of that and this day is dubbed the ‘Black Monday’ in Ghanaian football history.

1992 Africa Cup of Nations final (AFCON): Ghana 0-0 Ivory Coast (10-11 pen)

Ivory Coast defeated Ghana on penalties to win the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations 11-10 on penalties.

Ghana had high hopes entering into the final despite missing the services of their inspirational skipper Abedi Pele, because they still had enough quality than their Ivorian counterparts.

The Elephants, however, held the Black Stars to a goalless draw and edged the four-times champions of Africa an 11-10 defeat in a marathon penalty shootout to become Africa champions for the very first time.


Tony Baffoe who had scored his kick in the first set of the shootout threw away the last kick of the game.

In a recent interview, Anthony Yeboah, who was a key member of the Black Stars, attributed the loss to the decision to hand the captain’s arms band to Tony Baffoe after Abedi Pele was suspended for the final.

Other members of the team have expressed dissenting views about why Ghana lost against the Ivorians.

1994 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Ghana were optimistic of qualifying for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA and had the majority of the players that played a key role as they the final of the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations, still in the team.


However, Ghana’s hope of booking their ticket to the Mundial was dented by Algeria in a game played on a soggy field in 1993

But for Joe Odoi’s own goal in the late minute, the game would have ended one all.

1996- Friendly international

Ghana threw away a 1st half lead & lost 6-1 in the 2nd half against Germany in a friendly game staged at the 37,000 capacity Bochum stadium in Germany on 14th April 1993, which is exactly

The loss is Ghana's third-worst defeat in their international football history and this game is dubbed the Bochum Disaster.


Prince Polley gave the Black Stars the lead in the 44th minute when he connected home Abedi Pele's deflected ball which hit the crossbar.

Ghana headed into the half-time break with a 1-0 advantage.

Back from recess, Germany rallied back ad scored six goals, which would forever be Ghana's worst half in football history.

Ulf Kirsten registered the equaliser for Germany in the 69th minute, before Stefan Effenberg put the hosts in the driving seat in the 70th minute and Jurgen Klinsmann made it 3-1 in the 71st minute.

Germany who were in their element scored the 4th, 5th and 6th goals through Effenberg, Klinsmann and Andy Moller in the 82nd, 86th and 88th minutes, respectively.


It was alleged that there was confusion in the dressing room during half-time over money and other issues & that impacted on the team's shambolic performance in the 2nd half & ended up conceding 6 goals against the Germans.

1996 Africa Cup of Nations semis (AFCON)

Ghana suffered a 3-0 defeat in the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations against debutants South Africa in the semi-finals.

The Black Stars had a good run to the semis, winning against Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Mozambique to progress from the group stage and they dismissed DR Congo in the quarter-finals to set a date with the hosts.

South Africa taught Ghana a soccer lesson by mauling them 3-0 to reach the final.


1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Although we say there are no minnows in football, there are because some countries take the game seriously than the others and that is exactly the case of Ghana and Sierra Leone in 1997.

The Leone Stars stormed the Obuasi Len Clay Sports Stadium and pushed a bitter pill down the throat of the Black Stars as they defeated them 0-2 in the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Ghana never recovered and, in the end, failed to qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

1998 Africa Cup of Nations group game (AFCON)


Ghana suffered a setback in the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) when they lost 0-1 against Togo.

The Black Stars had a good start to the competition, after a win against Tunisia.

Togo were expected to be an easy game for the four times champions of Africa, but the Hawks emerged as giant killers when they edged Ghana 2-1 defeat- Abdel-Kader’s winner came in the 90th minute.

Nibombe Wake in post put up a great display by making several point-blank saves to see the Hawks of Togo to a famous victory.

The defeat demoralized the Black Stars and their tournament ended following another loss against DR Congo.


Abedi Pele playing his final AFCON tournament bowed out on a poor note with the Black Stars.

2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Liberia handed Ghana a 1-3 shocking defeat on home soil in the elimination games for the 2002 FIFA World Cup held in Korea/Japan.

Minnows, Liberia who had not even qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) before, were inspired by the presence of the 1995 FIFA Player of the Year, Ballon d’Or and African Footballer of the Year (the only African player to win the first two awards) mustered the courage to beat Ghana 1-3 in 2001.

2004 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers (AFCON)


Jimmy Gatete pierced a dagger through the heart of Ghanaians as he scored the only goal to deny Ghana a place in the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations.

Ghana failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the very first time in 14 years.

The Black Stars were in a group with Uganda and Rwanda during the qualifiers for the continent’s showpiece.

2008 Africa Cup of Nations semis (AFCON)

Ghana had launched the operation host and win campaign when they hosted the rest of the African continent in 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.


A well-motivated Black Stars after an impressive performance when they defeated their West African rivals Nigeria 2-1 in the quarter-finals set a date with Cameroon in the semis.

But Cameroon who had a slow start to the competition losing 4-2 against the eventual champions Egypt in the group stage stunned favourites Ghana.

Nkong a substitute emerged as the hero of the game when he scored the only goal of the match to spoil the party in front of a huge Ghanaian presence at the Accra Sports Stadium.

2010 AFCON final: Egypt 1-0 Ghana

The Pharaohs handed the Black Stars a 1-0 defeat to become African champions for the 7th time.


Substitute Mohammed Gado registered the only goal of the game for the Egyptians.

2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals : Ghana 1-1 Uruguay (4-2 penalties)

Ghana seemed certain to become the first African side to reach the last four of the competition when Luis Suarez saw red after handling on the line in the dying seconds of extra-time.

However, striker Asamoah Gyan, who had already converted two penalties in South Africa, skimmed the crossbar with the last kick of the game.

Gyan showed incredible guts to take the first spot-kick of the shoot-out but John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah both had their low strikes saved by Fernando Muslera.


And Sebsatian Abreu then showed ice-cold composure to dink the decisive penalty beyond Richard Kingson as Uruguay sealed a semi-final tie against the Netherlands.

Suarez's deliberate handball, which came seconds after he had legitimately blocked one goal-bound effort with his knee, was a gamble that paid handsome dividends.

It was a truly remarkable final few minutes, surely some of the most dramatic in World Cup history, and came at the end of an engrossing and occasionally bad-tempered contest.

Both teams enjoyed periods in the ascendancy - and both were guilty of wasting numerous opportunities.

Sulley Muntari, almost kicked out of the squad after criticising coach Milovan Rajevac earlier in the competition, struck a long-range opener on the stroke of half-time, while the impressive Diego Forlan equalised with a free-kick 10 minutes after the restart.


2012 Africa Cup of Nations semis (AFCON)

Ghana had kept the momentum by reaching the last four in the previous three AFCON prior to the 2012 AFCON.

Ghana entered the 2012 AFCON as the losing finalists of the last edition of the competition and as the best African nation in the 2010 World Cup, they were obviously the favourite to clinch the competition, especially without defending champions Egypt.

Ghana progressed smoothly into semis, but they were sunned by Zambia as they won their first continental title.

Asamoah Gyan missed from the spot kick during regulation time, before substitute Emmanuel Mayuka netted the lone goal.


2013 AFCON semis : Ghana 1-1 Burkina Faso (2-3)

Ghana's aim of winning the AFCON suffered another setback when they were stunned in the semis by Burkina Faso.

Mubarak Wakaso playing his debut tournament gave Ghana the lead, but Bance put the Burkinabe's level within the regulation time.

Burkina Faso won the game 3-1 on penalties to book a place in the final.

2014 FIFA World Cup group game: USA 2-1 Ghana


The United States earned sweet revenge against Ghana.

The Black Stars had defeated the USA Men’s Football team in their two previous clashes in the FIFA World Cup i.e 2006 and 2010, but the United States finally had their turn when they edged Ghana 2-1 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Ghana were drawn in Group G which had the USA, Germany and Portugal.

With the previous encounters between the two countries, the Black Stars were rated as the favourite for the tide, but the USA hit the ground running just after the blast of the referees first whistle and got the opener from Clint Dempsey under one minute (the fastest goal in the tournament)

Andre Ayew snatched the equalizer for Ghana, but John Brooks registered the winner from a powerful header in the late minute.


2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final

Ghana faced Ivory Coast in the repeat of the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations final

The Black Stars dominated their opponents during the 120 minutes of play, but neither side managed to find the net.

The game entered into the penalty shootout and the Black Stars took the lead after the Elephants of La CoteD’Ivoire had thrown away their first two kicks while the Black Stars scored their first two.

However, misses from Afriyie Acquah and Frank Acheampong turned the tide and the Black Stars subsequently lost 9-8 after Razak Brimah had his last kick saved.


2019 Africa Cup of Nations round of 16: Ghana 1-1 Tunisia (4-5 penalties)

Ghana prior to this game had defeated Tunisia in all their AFCON encounters. Ghana’s hopes of repeating the dose on the North Africans were very high.

However, the Tunisians earned sweet revenge over their Ghanaian counterparts when they edged them on penalties.

In fact, the Carthage Eagles scored the opener through Yassine Khenissi and they succumbed to pressure from the West Africans when Bedoui scored an own goal

Tunisia subsequently won the penalty shootout 5-4 with Caleb Ekuban missing Ghana’s 3rd kick.


Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: