In a couple of days, 2019 will officially come to an end. It will actually be the end of a decade. A decade which has seen some very big highs and some depressing lows for Ghana football to be specific and Ghana sports in general.
It has been a decade where the Black Stars twice came mighty close to winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2010 and 2015. A decade where the Black Stars inspired by the entire African continent was only a penalty away from becoming the first team from the continent to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in 2010 (South Africa)
A decade where the Black Satellites made Ghana and Africa proud by lifting the U-20 FIFA World Cup (2009) in Egypt led by the inspirational Andre Ayew.
In all, it has been a good decade.
This year though, some footballers have outperformed and deserve special mention for putting Ghana on the map with their performances.
In the list below GhanaWeb profiles the top-performing Ghanaian footballers of 2019.
Those close to the Ayew’s, especially the legendary Abedi Pele have always maintained that Abedi rated his youngest son than Rahim and Andre. Jordan, according to his father was the most naturally gifted of the trio. That assertion was hard to accept for a very long time, seeing as Andre was the one getting all the plaudits and putting in the hard work. But maybe Abedi was right all along. Maybe Jordan is the quintessential late bloomer who needed time to show the world his prowess. And in 2019 he came full circle. Finally, he seemed to get the credit and attention he so deserves.
In a year where the Black Stars struggled to impress, Jordan was a bright spot. He, on a personal level, had a decent 2019 AFCON and for a moment there is a firm belief that he can lead the line for the Black Stars in the absence of Asamoah Gyan.
At club level, this will surely be one of the best if not his best season.
This week, Ayew scored his 5th goal of the season for Crystal Palace and it was a beauty.
That goal got the internet buzzing and his Crystal Palace mate Wilfried Zaha ‘bowed’ to greatness after Ayew’s incredible match-winner for Crystal Palace against West Ham on Boxing Day.
Ayew scored, arguably the goal of the season, after skillfully weaving through three defenders and gathering the patience and finesse to chip past West Ham goalkeeper Roberto for the winner.
Zaha posted on social media after the game,” Great team performance and Jordan Ayew take a bow son.”
Described by many as one of the few Ghanaian players lucky to be playing for a proper elite football club and in a proper league in Europe, Partey has caught the eye with his impressive performances this year.
2019 has been good to Partey and it is no surprise that he has been linked with a big-money move to the English Premiership soon.
Some have even backed Partey to make a move to crosstown rivals Real Madrid in the not too distant future.
Former Barcelona and Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas praised Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey following his display in Atletico Madrid’s defeat to Barcelona this month.
The Ghanaian midfielder bossed the middle of the park, despite his side losing narrowly to the Spanish champions.
Fabregas, who was watching the game took to Twitter to shower praises on the 26-year old.
He posted, “Thomas es muy Bueno”, which when translated to English means Thomas is very good.
Partey has become one of the mainstays of the Black Stars despite making his debut on;y 3 years ago. He has even been handed captaincy duties for the national team this year. Certainly a good year for the 26-year-old.
This year, Andre Ayew finally fulfilled a childhood dream when he was named as the substantive captain of the Ghana national team the Black Stars.
His first assignment as leader of the team didn’t quite go as planned as the Black Stars crashed out of the AFCON in the Round of 16- their worst outing since 2008.
At a personal level, Andre was dealing with a lot. He has agreed to play in the English Championship after a not so successful loan deal with Turkish side Fernabache failed to materialise into a permanent deal.
Since then the 30-year-old has demonstrated that he isn’t finished and could play at the very top level again.
This week Andre Ayew scored in his fourth consecutive game for Swansea City in their 3-1 defeat to Brentford in the Championship on Thursday.
Ayew, who is currently enjoying a purple patch scored against Blackburn got a brace against Middlesbrough before scoring the winner against Luton prior to the Brentford game on Thursday.
The 30-year-old has taken his season tally to 11 goals and 4 assists in 26 appearances this season.
He struggles to get the credit he deserves but this year it appears that narrative is gradually changing. And it was summed up by his Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson who said that the Ghanaian midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp is one of the most important players he has in his squad.
“He [Schlupp] is a very, very important player. I think he’s one of those underrated players because he’s not spectacular,” Hodgson said.
“He can be [spectacular] when he gets on a run with the ball. He’s very strong, he’s a very good runner with the ball, a good striker with the ball.
“But a lot of the work he does which is so valuable to the team will perhaps pass unnoticed, especially when you’ve got Wilf on the other side of the field who does so many things which are so easy to notice as being spectacular.”
“We’re very pleased with him [Schlupp]. He’s a very good professional; he works very hard. He recovers quickly from injury which is fortunate because he’s hasn’t been blessed with a lot of luck sometimes during my time here,” Hodgson continued.
“He’s missed quite a lot of football through injury but he’s always come back quickly from it.
Black Stars defender Joseph Aidoo joined Celta Vigo from Belgian side RKC Genk in the summer and has gone on to establish himself as a key member of the Celta team.
Among the new signings who joined Celta Vigo, the defender plays the most games than any other player in the team and is the second most used player in the entire team.
The Ghanaian has played 17 of the 18 league games played, only the first was a defeat against Real Madrid, and already has reached 1,502 minutes, in fact, he is the second most used player in the Celta Vigo side apart from club captain Iago Aspas, who has 1,617 minutes and the most used player this season.
Aidoo also made his first Africa Cup of Nations debut this year, featuring in Ghana’s 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in their final Group F game in July.
He has since become a mainstay in the team and is expected to command a place in the team for a long time to come.