Dong Bortey, Ishmael Addo left out of Coach J.E Sarpong's all-time GPL XI

J.E Sarpong who has vast experience as a coach in the Ghana Premier League has named his all-time XI in the elite league.

 Dong Bortey, Ishmael Addo left out of Coach JE Sarpong all-time GPL XI 2

J.E Sarpong has previously coached clubs such as Kotoko, Hearts of Oak, Great Olympics, Liberty Professionals, Aduana Stars, Liberty Prof, Ebusua Dwarfs, etc on the domestic scene.

With a careful assessment of how players have fared in the league since the 1993/1994 season (the maiden season of the Ghana Premier League), he has named his all-star team in an exclusive interview with Pulse Ghana.

The notable absentees from the list are three times Ghana Premier League top scorer Ishmael Addo and 2002 joint top scorer in the GPL Dong Bortey.

Below is the finest Ghana Premier League XI released by Coach J.E Sarpong.

Sammy Adjei

He is one of the safest pair of hands the country has ever produced. He is a goalkeeper of great elasticity.

Sammy Adjei was very instrument as Hearts of Oak won the CAF Champions League in 2000. One of his best games in between the sticks was at Al Ahly in a one-all draw at Cairo. It was a game, Sammy Adjei single-handedly saved Hearts of Oak from a defeat. He made several point-blank saves to salvage a crucial one point for the Phobians.

He was at his best throughout the Champions League campaign and they defeated Esperance in both the home and the away fixtures to become Africa champions for the first time. Hearts of Oak of Oak who had won the League and the FA Cup clinched a historic treble.

He helped the Phobians to win three consecutive league titles and two FA Cups in addition to the CAF Champions League and the CAF Super Cup.

Sammy Adjei also became an integral part of the national team during the period.

In a four-back defence, Coach J.E lined-up Frank Amankwah, Aziz Ansah, Edward Agyemang Duah and Joseph Hendricks

He deployed Frank Amakwah and Aziz Ansah to the right and left-full back, respectively.

Frank Amankwah

Bayereba, as he was affectionately called by the Ghanaian football loving fans, was not only Ghana's best right full-back, but he was the finest in his position on the African continent. Frank Amakwah joined Asante Kotoko from Kumapem and helped the Porcupine Warriors wIn the 1993 Ghana Premier League before the change over from amateur league to professional football in 1993/1994 season.

His overlapping, crosses and incisive passes when surging forward was amazing and because of his speed, he could easily trackback to support in defensive duties. Those couldn't watch Frank Amankwah can liken his work rate to that of Roberto Carlos in his prime. He is widely regarded as the best right full back Ghana has ever seen.

During his days in the Premier League, he cemented his place in THE starting berth, featuring for the Black Stars in 1994 and 1996 AFCONs. In 1994 despite Ghana's early exit from the continent's showpiece, his individual effort earned him a place in the all-star team of the tournament alongside Abedi Pele as the two Ghanaians who made the list.

Aziz Ansah

Aziz Ansah became a household name after he joined Asante Kotoko from Great Olympics. He helped the Kumasi giants to win the GPL in 2003 and he was subsequently voted the Sports Writers Association Player of the Year. He was one of the few local-based players who managed to get a national team call-up. Ansah could support the attack with his surging runs and incisive crosses and his ability to track back also gave much stability to the defence.

Coach J.E Sarpong prefers Agyemang Duah and Joseph Hendricks as his centre-back pair.

Edward Agyemang Duah

Rambo, as he was nicknamed, was a solid centre back in defence and a very difficult one to beat.

Agyemang Duah won the Ghana Premier League title with AshGold and Hearts of Oak and before that he was part of the Kotoko team that won the 1993 league.

Agyemang Duah also played in three CAF Champions League final. He was at the losing end at Kotoko in 1993 and AshGold in 1997, but he finally clinched the trophy with Hearts of Oak in 2000.

Agyemang Duah was a regular member of the Black Stars in his prime in the Ghana Premier League and represented Ghana in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations.

Joseph Hendricks:

He was one of the best defenders to wear the shirt of Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

Joseph Hendricks was rugged and a tough defender, who relied much on his physique and his ability to block balls and he was a good tackler as well.

He joined Asante Kotoko from Eleven Wise and he became the skipper of the Kumasi lads in the course of his career. Hendricks was the captain of the Kotoko team that won the 2003 and 2005 Ghana Premier League. 'Oreba' as he was affectionately called also had the chance to play for the Black Stars during his tenure with Kotoko.

In midfield Coach, Sarpong selected two creative midfielders in the persons of Adjetey Lee and Stephen Oduro.

Adjetey Lee

Adjetey Lee was an attacking midfielder, who linked up very well with the strikers. The former Ho Voradep midfielder was part of the Goldfield now AshGold team that won the Ghana Premier League for three consecutive seasons. He also played for the Black Stars in the 1990s

Stephen Oduro:

The diminutive midfielder was idolised by Ghanaian football fans due to his skills, dribbles and creativity in midfield. Oduro is one of the longest-serving players in the Ghana Premier League, spending several years in the GPL from his days at RTU in 1998 until when he hanged up his boot in 2017.

After joining the Porcupine Warriors from RTU in 2000 following a transfer battle between Kotoko and their regional rivals Goldfields (now AshGold), Oduro left no stone unturned as he became a standout performer season after season.

His unique ability to retain possession and give defence-splitting passes was second to none on the domestic scene during his heydays.

Stephen Oduro won the league with Kotoko in 2003, 2005, 2007/2008 and 2011/2012

His only limitation was that he failed to break into the watertight Black Stars midfield in the few instances he had the chance to play for the senior national team.

Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor was a delight to watch with his effective dribbles and runs. Many rates him as one of the best dribblers Ghana has produced in the past 20 years. He added goal scoring to his play emerging as joint GPL top scorer in 2002 with 18 goals.

After joining Hearts of Oak from Great Olympics, he won three Ghana Premier League titles, before moving to Kotoko in 2003. The mercurial midfielder helped the Kumasi giants to win their first Ghana Premier League in his debut season, following a controversial transfer which prolonged for some time before it went through for GHC 120,000 (Still a Ghanaian record for a transfer between two clubs on the domestic scene). He was part of the Hearts of Oak team that swept everything in 2000, winning the CAF Champions League, Ghana Premier League and the FA Cup, which was a historic treble.

Ahmed Toure

Ivorian Burkinabe import is undoubted one of the most controversial players in the history of the Ghana Premier League. However, he is a great talent who can offer you a lot. He has had three different spells with Asante Kotoko and also played for Becehm United.

Toure is a schemer cum scorer and he was a tormentor in chief for the Porcupine Warriors and other GPL club he offered his services to. His lack of discipline contributed to his failure to win either the goal king or help his side to win the league because there were seasons, he left at the business end of it or he was put on on ice for insubordination.

In attack Coach, David Duncan prefers Emmanuel Osei Kuffour to play behind Kofi Deblah as the arrow-head.

Emmanuel Osei Kuffour

Emmanuel Osei Kuffour is arguably the greatest player in the Ghana Premier League history. He started playing in the GPL in the 1993/1994 with Dwarfs as a defender before he was converted into an attacking midfielder. He featured in the GPL until the 2007/2008 season when he won the league with Asante Kotoko, making him the longest-serving player in the professional league.

He won five league titles with Hearts of Oak and a league title with Asante Kotoko, making him one of the most decorated players in the GPL.

Kuffour’s leadership qualities were awesome and had the opportunity to captain the Black Stars during the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). He was a schemer cum scorer as well. Hearts of Oak owe their 2000 CAF Champions League title to him - he scored 10 goals to win the top scorer of the competition.

Kofi Deblah

He had eyes for goals and he possessed the ability to torment the opposing goal area, winning the Ghana Premier League twice in 1995/1996 and 1996/1997 seasons.

Deblah was a key player of the Goldfields team that won the Ghana Premier League three consecutive times to open professional with such a great dominance- 1993/1994, 1994/1995 and 1995/1996.

He won the Ghana Premier League goal king in two consecutive seasons.

Kofi Deblah was a regular feature in the Black Stars during his heydays at Goldfields now AshGold.

Procedure

The Ghana Premier League all-time XI is a campaign by Pulse Ghana to settle on the finest players who have paid their dues to domestic football in the country since the inception of professional football on 19th December 1993.

Ghana Sports Historian and Statistician Thomas Freeman Yeboah in his research came up with about 50 players who have been outstanding in the Ghanaian topflight league from 1993 up to date.

The list was presented to Coaches, retired and current football administrators and journalists and other well-meaning sports enthusiasts to help the exercise.

They were, however, at liberty to include any player whom they consider worthy of a place in the team, though not captured in the pool of prospective players for the Ghana Premier League all-time XI.

Criteria

(1) Players who have excelled during the period from 19 December 1993 to date were considered.

(2) Contribution to teamwork

(3) Individual brilliance

(4)Consistency

(5) Silverware won by the players

(6) Impact and influence

(7) National team assignment for the player during this period.

It should be noted that the views of about ten renowned coaches, journalists, football administrators have been taken into consideration in our quest to establish the Ghana Premier League finest XI of all-time.

The next Ghana Premier League all-time XI will come from coach of the Black Stars B Ibrahim Tanko.

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