Football has moved from a sport that used to feature on the back pages of newspapers to one that heavily makes it to the front pages.
Pulse Picks: 6 Ghanaian players who made international headlines in 2021
Pulse Sports has compiled a list of six Ghanaian footballers who made international headlines in the year under review…
To this end, aside from what the footballers do on the pitch, their actions and lifestyles off the pitch have also become newsworthy.
It is, therefore, common for a footballer to make international headlines than persons in other professions.
And, in 2021, there were quite a number of Ghanaian footballers who made international headlines for both good and bad reasons.
Below, we bring you six Ghanaian players who made international headlines this year:
Kamaldeen outshining Messi, Neymar and Mbappe
In October, Ghanaian teen sensation Kamaldeen Sulemana has his name in every tabloid after outshining Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as Stade Rennes defeated PSG 2-0.
The teenager was a complete joy on the left flank as he toyed with the entire PSG backline for 90 minutes and was the star of the show despite PSG front three being on the pitch.
He constantly terrorised PSG right-back Achraf Hakimi and provided a great assist for Rennes’ opening goal. Kamaldeen also ended the game with 23 completed passes, one big chance created, four tackles won, two interceptions and one clearance.
Felix Afena-Gyan setting Serie A record
Another Ghanaian youngster, Felix Afena-Gyan, captured the international headlines when he scored twice against Genoa in November.
The 18-year-old came on as a substitute and scored two goals to claim victory for Jose Mourinho’s side.
His double put him in Serie A folklore, making him the first player born in 2003 to score in the Italian topflight.
Amartey’s controversial celebration against Chelsea
While some players made the headlines for the right reasons, Daniel Amartey got himself trending after a rather controversial celebration against Chelsea.
Leicester City won their first-ever FA Cup trophy when defeated Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley Stadium in May, thanks to a wonder strike from Youri Tielemans.
While celebrating the triumph in their dressing room, Amartey was captured on camera throwing Chelsea’s pennant to the ground.
The Ghanaian came under severe criticism from Chelsea fans, with some taking to Twitter to express their displeasure at his actions. A section of some neutral fans also described Amartey’s behaviour as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘unwarranted’. Leicester City later apologised to Chelsea for the defender’s behaviour.
Michael Essien’s LGBT controversy
In February, Michael Essien also made the headlines after throwing his support behind the LGBT community in Ghana.
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid star took to Instagram to defend of the LGBT community, saying the country must support equality.
In a post on Instagram, Essien called for more support for gays and lesbians in Ghana, insisting they must be heard. However, he was later forced to delete the post following severe backlash from a section of Ghanaians.
Asamoah Gyan after Ronaldo equalled his record
Despite not playing much in 2021 due to a series of niggling injuries, Asamoah Gyan still made the headlines.
The ex-Black Stars captain went viral after his long-standing international record was equalled by the great Cristiano Ronaldo.
Gyan used to be the only footballer to have scored in nine consecutive major international tournaments. However, that record was equalled when Ronaldo scored in Portugal’s victory over Hungary in their opening Euro 2020 game.
Sandra Owusu-Ansah nominated for Puskas
Black Queens forward Sandra Owusu-Ansah also captured the world’s attention after being nominated for the 2021 FIFA Puskas award.
The 21-year-old scored from almost 35 yards out while playing for Supreme Ladies against Kumasi Sports Academy Ladies during last season’s Ghana Women’s Premier League.
Owusu-Ansah, who currently plays for Serbian side ZFK Spartak Subotica, was the only Ghanaian and one of two Africans nominated for the 2021 FIFA Puskas Award.
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