Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Ghana amputee soccer players become world's first professional players

From The Daily Democrat in Ghana:

Ghana has once again made history in amputee football by producing the first professionals in the world and stands on the verge of entering into the Guinness Book of Records in that regard.

Three members of the Black Challenge, Ghana’s Amputee National Team, are currently playing in the Turkish League, making them the first players to ever play as professionals in the world.

Richard Opentil, Captain, Francis Antwi-Darkwah, Deputy Captain and Attah Yeboah, midfielder/striker, have begun their professional careers in Turkey, after signing for their various clubs in February this year.
Though the deal is not so lucrative, it has the potential of making the lives of the players better as they place Ghana’s name on the map once again as a beacon not only in Africa but the world as a whole.

Opentil and Antwi-Darkwah are playing for Yenimahalle whilst Attah Yeboah is plying his trade with Konya FC. In their first matches, Attah Yeboah’s Konya beat their counterparts by a lone goal, with the Ghanaian playing full-time to the admiration of officials and fans.

Richard Opentil and Francis Antwi-Darkwah gave a good account of themselves by joining their colleagues to beat their opponents 4-0. Interestingly, their opponents abandoned the match to avoid a bigger shame.

This historic feat, a result of the Black Challenge’s participation in the last Amputee World Cup in Argentina in October last year, was orchestrated by the splendid performance of the Ghanaian Team, which earned them a historic berth at the quarterfinals and sixth position, the first by any African nation in the history of amputee football in the World.

It would be recalled that Turkey, with a well organized league system, had to struggle to draw with Ghana in two of the matches they played at the mundial, one at the group stages and the other at the quarterfinals. In both matches, Turkey came from behind to equalized; in the first match, the Turkish scored the equalizer with some seconds to the end, when spectators expected the referee to have closed earlier on.

The splendid performance of the three players is expected to open the flood gates for other members of the squad, as a new dimension in amputee soccer is opened.