On this day, 16 November 2003 (Exactly 18 years ago today) Asamoah Gyan scored on his debut as Ghana beat Somalia 5-0 to take a giant step towards the group stage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the first of their two-legged affair played at the Accra Sports stadium.
After a wrong rendition of the Somali national anthem which was greeted with boos from the vociferous Ghanaian fans was rectified after a Somali official had alerted those in the control room, the Stars kicked off in an earnest to redeem their sunken image.
Clad in a new “Puma outfit” yellow shirt and over black shorts – the stars moved into gear from the start but had to wait till the 25th minute to find an antidote to the defensive minded Somalis who tested goalkeeper Sammy Adjei only twice in the entire 90 minutes.
In fact, it took the visitors for 30 minutes to cross the half way line and when they did, their lone striker Isse Aden Abshir was dispossessed of the ball by the “less busy” Ghanaian defenders.
Nana Arhin Duah brought the fans to their feet in the 25th minute when he rose to nod home the opener from a Bernard Don Bortey’s pinpoint cross.
And in spite of the goal, the Somalis were resolute in defense and their young goalie Abdulkadir Shek Osman, who took several knocks from aerial tussels fought hard to avoid more goals.
But the defensive network of the visitors appeared to have broken down after recess, when the Ghanaians scored four more times to gladden the hearts of the fans.
After seeing his goal-bound header scooped off the goal in the 56th minute, Nana Arhin Duah dived to finish off a Blrtey’s lob a few seconds later to raise the tally to two.
The two goals galvanised the stars for a goal harvest as linchpin Michael Essien tugged the team forward and Bortey too sparkled from the wings with his characteristic in – swingers.
Former Kotoko goal poacher Isaac Boakye scored a classic third goal with a left footer as the ball hit beneath the crossbar before settling into the net.
It was a beautiful move initiated by the midfield general Essien, who dummied the defenders and back healed the ball for Boakye to finish in the 69th minute.
Coach Ralf Zumdick sent in Lawrence Adjei and debutant Asamoah Gyan for Aziz Ansah and later Yakubu for skipper Appiah, who had his head bandaged in the third minute.
Minutes later, coming on, Gyan tapped in Yakubu’s goal – bound shot while Boakye scored a brilliant personal second and the fifth for Ghana.
Ghana Line – up: Sammy Adjei, Aziz Ansah/ Lawrence Adjei, Addoquaye Pappoe, John Mensah, Samuel Osei Kuffour, Michael Essien, Bernard Don Bortey, Hamza Mohammed, Nana Arhin Duah/ Asamoah Gyan, Isaac Boakye, Stephen Appiah/ Yakubu Abubakari
Somalia Line-up: Abdulkadir Shek Osma, Yussif Ali Egal, Mohamed Abdulai Muhudin, Hussein Meigag Mohamed /Abdifitah Mohamed Said, Abdulusis Salad Awale, Musdaf Hassan Omar, Osman Omar Wakil, Isse Aden Abghir, Yussif Ali Nir, Mohamed Abdulai Shek/ Abdulwahid Abdi Farah, Abdul Kadir Omar Ibrahim
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