Pulse Sports takes a look at some top Ghanaian players who struggled to get their careers going in 2017.
This is because the year came with periods that certain players would like to forget in a hurry. While some players became instant hits in 2017, others dropped below their usual standards and have since found it difficult to recover.
The likes of Thomas Agyepong, Richmond Boakye-Yiadom and Raphael Dwamena finally got their breakthrough at international level, following impressive performances for their respective clubs.
However, for other Ghanaian players, it was a year to simply forget: their form continued to dip, while some also found it very difficult to get the necessary playing time at their clubs.
The situation is even worse for those who were thrown into obscurity after making moves to “inferior leagues”.
As the year comes to an end, Pulse Sports takes a look at some Ghanaian players who were totally lost in 2017.
Chelsea defender Abdul Baba Rahman started the year in the worst possible way, and unfortunately he has been unable to recover since. The left-back sustained a muscle tear during Ghana’s opening game against Uganda at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
Initial reports suggested that Rahman would be out of action for six months, however, the injury appears more serious than first thought, ruling the 23-year-old out for the entire year.
The former Schalke rearguard has returned to light training, but is yet to kick a ball since January, when he represented Ghana at the AFCON. 2017 has certainly not been a good year for him.
Michael Essien’s decline has been very steady over the years. However, never would anybody have thought that the once powerful midfielder would end up playing in the Indonesian league.
The 34-year-old has battled with niggling injury problems in recent years and opted to join Persib Badung in January after terminating his contract with Greek giants Panathinaikos.
However, despite being regarded as the biggest signing ever to grace the Indonesian league, Essien’s stock has only diminished, making it a far cry from the man who used to play for elite clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid.
2017 started with Essien playing in Europe, but has ended with him far away in one of Asia’s least recognized countries when it comes to football. He has simply been lost!
Another top Ghanaian player who was totally missing in 2017 is Sulley Muntari. The 32-year-old joined Seria A side Pescara in January on a six-month loan deal.
However, he was powerless in preventing them from slumping into relegation following a poor string of results. Muntari’s contract with the club was subsequently not renewed and unfortunately he has been unable to find another club.
Since being released last summer, Muntari has remained a free-agent despite his considerable experience at both club and international level.
For a player who boasts three Serie A titles and a Champions League medal, remaining clubless is certainly a low point and it was seen his reputation take a reduced role in 2017.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu made a mixed start to 2017, having been included in Ghana’s squad for the AFCON. He was also making progress with Udinese in the Italian Serie A.
However, his move to the Turkish league put a stop to that progress and sent him into total obscurity. And it is not as if he made up for it on the international scene. Unlike compatriot Asamoah Gyan – who made notable impacts with the Black Stars despite his poor club form – Badu has not even been invited for national duty since Kwesi Appiah took charge in May.
The 27-year-old used to be one of Ghana’s most consistent performer, but it 2017 has been nothing to write home about after going totally lost.
Prior to the 2014 World Cup Jerry Akaminko was regarded by many as Ghana’s best defender. However, three years on and the 29-year-old has been left in the shadows of that tag, largely due to injury problems.
Akaminko’s 2017 is one that the centre-back himself would like to forget in a hurry. After a two-year layoff with injury, the defender returned in March this year full of hope, but it was shortlived as another injury derailed his comeback.
He is currently rebuilding his career with Turkish side Eskişehirspor, but he would certainly know that 2017 has passed him by without him making any notable impact.
Until 2017, many Ghanaians probably held the view that Adam Larsen Kwarasay is Ghana’s most trusted pair of hands when it comes to keeping the sticks. But that notion is now a forgone story, having seen the Norway-born Ghanaian remain inconsistent throughout the year.
Kwarasay has changed clubs three times just this year. He started the year playing for Rosenborg, then he switched to Brondy before again opting to join Valarenga.
Worse off, he consistently declined to play for the Black Stars, leaving his year appraisal on just club commitments. Between 2012 and 2016, Kwarasay would have easily qualified as Ghana’s best goalkeeper, but his inconsistency in 2017 has seen him go totally missing.
Rarely would you find a footballer playing in the Premier League and still go totally lost. However, that has been the case of Ghana defender Jeffrey Schlupp.
The Crystal Palace utility man has been in an out of the side throughout the year following his move from Leicester City. To make matters worse, the 25-year-old was also badly out of form when he started in Ghana’s World Cup qualifier against Congo.
For Schlupp, 2017 couldn’t have ended any sooner after struggling for game time and form throughout the year.