Shocking: Ghana’s African Cup Trophy Gone Missing

Shocking: Ghana’s African Cup Trophy Gone Missing

When teams play in a competition, all eyes will be on one thing – no, not the cash prize, and not the fat promises frightfully and inexplicably made to the team, but the minted inches of brass, silver or gold, otherwise known as trophy. The trophies are the first point of call, and the measure of a team’s overall success.

The Black Stars of Ghana, one of the most decorated teams on the continent of Africa, was a known title-winning machine years.

Despite the team’s inability to win any major laurel in the last three decades, there’s one sterling trophy that should be glittering with pride in Ghana’s trophy cabinet.

The team has won four Africa Cup of Nations, with the third in 1978, handed for keeps.

With weeks to the African Cup of Nations in Gabon, where 16 countries will grapple for the coveted trophy, embarks on a mission to find out how Ghana’s ONLY major pukka trophy has been kept.

“After the CAF officials made the presentation of the trophy to us, we walked down the stairs at the Accra Sports and started the celebration and indeed it was a wild one”,

“All the players took turns to take the trophy for photographs and run around kissing it with was such a great feeling”, 1978 African Cup of Nations winning captain Awuley Quaye Snr recounted to how that trophy meant to Ghana”

“I remember (Mohammed) Polo ran to me, took the trophy and started running around the stadium hoisting the trophy in the air whiles the fans chanted. He brought it back to me as the skipper and I hugged it. I still remember the size and weight, it was nice. We were completely overjoyed because see, that trophy was dear to our hearts because we knew we had won it forever and ever and for keeps”, He added

Earlier Ghana had won the Cup of Nations in 1963 and 1965 to achieve a hat-trick of successes in the competition’s history.

The Black Stars defeated the Cranes of Uganda in a fierce final at the Accra Stadium on March 16, 1978 by 2-0 and that meant Ghana became the first country to win the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for keeps.

Opoku Afriyie’s brace ensured that CAF President Yidnekatchew Tessema and his entourage who made the trip to Ghana had to leave behind the giant silver Mustafa trophy in Accra as it had now become a bonafide property of the West Africans.

CAF had to get a new trophy for the 1980 Nations Cup staged in Nigeria and fortunately enough the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) donated it.
Opoku Afriyie, flanked by Abdul Razak to celebrate a goal in the final

Opoku Afriyie, flanked by Abdul Razak to celebrate a goal in the 1978 final

That was 38 years ago, and still remains the only African Cup of Nations trophy expected to have a special place in Ghana’s trophy cabinet.

But after weeks of extensive foraging, can reveal that, the coveted 1978 African Cup of Nations trophy has DISAPPEARED from Ghana’s trophy cabinet.

All, or many of Ghana football’s laurels are neatly kept at a newly opened library at the headquarters of the Ghana football Association in Accra a visit to the arena revealed that, none of the African Cup of Nations trophies, be it a replica version or original can be found at the GFA’s end.

Ghana FA’s librarian, Frederick Boakye told in an interview that the football governing body only has trophies that were won in testimonial games after 1990, and thus his outfit has no knowledge of where the major trophies, including the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations were kept.

“We only have trophies that were won recently, like the FA Cups and others won after may be 90’s but ones like the Africa Cup, no no no we don’t have”,

“At least I’ve been hear for sometime now and I can say that they’re not here. I understand that during those years, the trophies were kept by the Sports Council and not the GFA”, He added.
Ghana FA Headquarters in Accra

Ghana FA’s cabinet in Accra does not have an AFCON trophy to show

The Ghana National Sports Council, then in charge of the administration of sports, was believed to have housed the trophy but according to a source at the National Sports Authority, there are only a few trophies and these trophies are not even once that belongs to football.

“There are some trophies here but when you look at their sizes, I can tell you it doesn’t look like ones that were won by a football team”, an anonymous source told

“We don’t have in our custody any trophy won by the Black Stars here. All we have are some small cups and some club replicas but unfortunately not all the trophies have inscriptions so it’s difficult knowing their source”, the source added.

At the offices of Ghana’s Sports Ministry, some giant trophies were displayed but the PRO of the ministry revealed that, his outfit has no knowledge of where most of the national trophies are kept, and that they have even started a process of tracing some of the missing trophies.

“Where is the trophy. We want to see where the trophy we won for keeps has been kept”, Willie Klutse, a worried member of the 1978 squad told me in a telephone interview.

“This is not the first time I’m asking about the trophy. I have personally gone to the GFA and Sports Council offices to inquire on the whereabouts of the cup but they all told me they don’t know and it makes me sick”,
“We have failed to win a cup for years, over 34 years and the only one we have for keeps that could have been moral booster for this generation too has been stolen”, He added

The Black Stars won the 1978 African Cup under a military regime led by Lt General Kutu Acheampong.
Ghana Defeated Nigeria by 2-0 to win its 3rd African Cup of Nations

Ghana Defeated Nigeria by 2-0 to win its 3rd African Cup of Nations

The then military head of state had made financial and house promises to the team ahead of the tournament
and the Osam Duodu-led team fulfilled the dreams of a nation by winning the title on that Saturday night.

Ghana then earned the title ‘the Brazil of Africa’ after winning the AFCON for keeps, for emulating the pace set by Brazil in 1970, winning the World Cup for keeps, and also the mere fact that Ghana went to Brazil for their training tour ahead of the tournament.

“When we left the stadium, the trophy was in my custody and the some of the fans had still lined up the streets to cheer us late into the night”, skipper Awuley Quaye said.

“Can you believe that there was a helicopter to take us to the house of (Gen Ignatius Kutu) Acheampong who was also the then Commissioner of Sports.

“I don’t know where exactly we passed but I think his house was at Amedzofe on the Adomi Bridge road and he received us by throwing a massive party for us. He took the trophy, took some pictures and handed it back to me”,

“When we were finally leaving, I left the trophy in the hands of our team manager Kojo Nunoo together with all the jerseys but that was my last time of setting eyes on the cup”,

“It is sad, sometimes I go there (stadium) to see if I can set eyes on the trophy I lifted as captain but I’m told it is missing. And sadly, they don’t even have our pictures there as they do in Europe. No picture of the team is there and it saddens my hearts”, Awuley Quaye said with his face down, as if tears were dropping.

Ghana Squad trophies

Ghana Squad trophies

A staff at the Ministry of Youth & Sports, who wants to remain anonymous, said there is a need for the trophy to be retrieved from where it is and placed at the Ghana FA or Sports Council office.

“I think we have to find its whereabouts. I’m happy this topic comes up and all the agencies or personbalities who are in possession must try and show up because it belongs to the state”, He said

“Even if we have to write to CAF, we need to do so that they are able to provide us with a replica of that trophy if they find our reasons tenable”,

The Jules Rimet (World Cup trophy), was stolen twice, prior to the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England, and in 1983, may have been missing for over 30 years.

But it doesn’t stand alone, as the CAF Mustapha Cup, awarded to Ghana for keeps in 1978, has shockingly gone missing for same number of years (as the Jules Rimet) without anyone really being bothered.

In the exhortation remarks of the skipper Awuley Quaye Snr, who led his charges to lift that trophy: “It should be with someone. It it has to be found. Unless it disappeared with the smoke of the 1979 coup”,.




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item●: Shocking: Ghana’s African Cup Trophy Gone Missing
Shocking: Ghana’s African Cup Trophy Gone Missing
Shocking: Ghana’s African Cup Trophy Gone Missing●
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