What occupies Ghanaian footballers after they retire?
We will take an introspective look at Ghana in the context of the story title.
It is now known, that most Ghanaian footballers have stayed within the circles of their career becoming coaches or as role players within the structures of football management.
You can give a tall list in respect of the above. Kwasi Appiah, Frimpong Manso, Hesse Odamtten, Nii Noi Thompson, Sampson Lamptey, Mohammed Polo, Annor Walker, Abdul Razak, John Eshun, Ibrahim Sunday, Malik Jabir, Yaw Preko, George Lamptey, late Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, Michael Osei, Ibrahim Merigah, Otto Addo, Isaac Paha, Ben Fokuo, Ibrahim Tanko, CK Akunnor, Ofei Ansah, and Yaw Acheampong.
Others like Abedi Ayew Pele founded and became club owners. His club is FC Nania. Samuel Opoku Nti became the General Manager and at some point an Acting Chief Executive of Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
Others still have some affinity with the sport in the form of commentating. Former goalie of Real Tamale United, Abukari Damba, Hearts of Oak’s Laryea Kingson, Joseph Addo, and Oly’s Winfred Dorman are now considered astute commentators. The upper class of commentating is an analysis of the game, including live matches. Here, C.K. Akunnor and Samuel Osei Kuffour come to mind, as they are variously employed by FIFA, Pay TV, and soccer brands to join in high-profile discussions. Both own hotels and rentable mansions.
Still not departing from the game, other high fliers such as Asamoah Gyan and Abedi Pele have been invited to FIFA balloting events at which they are paid heavily. Some are signed on to advertising reels to market business brands. That brings in whooping amounts of money. Anthony Baffoe is an appointee of the Confederation of African Football, CAF.
Former Under-16 Starlets icon, a middle-aged man now, is into business, having coached some clubs. Nii Odartey Lamptey has established a school called Glow-Lamp, and has a kraal, among other businesses. Anthony Yeboah attempted to establish a football club but that hasn’t come to light. He, like other Ghanaian footballers who plied their trade in Europe, has tall lists of investments. Among the known ones are Yegoala hotels in Accra and Kumasi.
Sulley Muntari sold luxury vehicles in Italy. He, John Mensah, Stephen Appiah, and Michael Essien are said to be fitted well in the world of business. Some sweated it out to make a living, yet they are making it. A case in point is Tanko Ibrahim, not the one who played for Borussia Dortmund in Germany and became an Assistant Coach for the Black Stars.
His namesake became part of the star-studded Accra Great Olympics team in the late 1980s after he was poached from Real Tamale United. When he hung his boots, the striker had been spotted driving heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
There were other footballers whose businesses were linked to their names even whilst they used to play. Kwaku Ofori who was converted from striker to a defender when he moved from Sekondi Hasaacas to Asante Kotoko in 1985, used to be called ”paanowura” meaning, bread seller. The no-nonsense defender sold bread long before he checked out of football.
The world witnessed the coming to fruition, of the orphanage built in Ghana in memorial of the late Christian Atsu. His death could represent a huge sacrifice in social service to humanity, and his lifetime philanthropy is considered the highest point of any such activity by footballers. In the league of social services are former Hearts cum Kotoko defender, Seth Ampadu as well as Osei Kofi, formerly of Kotoko, who are now Reverend Ministers.
Juicy foreign lands are hosts to huge communities of former Ghanaian footballers. They are working in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. They have cleverly cashed in on the international exposure to network with overseas bases where they are now domiciled. Among those outside the country are Adolf Armah, Dan Nyarnu, David Bolfrey, Bashiru Gambo, O.C Sarpong, Goalkeeper Owusu Mensah, etc.
In all these, there are other past footballers who made giant contributions to the game in their playing days yet ended up penniless, and some died in the sullenness of career fates. Months before his death, the player called “Thunder” Anas Seidu had cried out about the failed promises made to the national team which he played for. He echoed the sentiments of his contemporaries who sought the same. Late Midfielder Abu Imoro was in a sorry state before he died.
What footballers do in the post-career period is of immense interest as most of them retire in their late 30s, in the wake of dwindling strengths, and diminishing interest in their value when they hit the twilight.