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Ghana defender Harisson Afful earns rave reviews for explosive display against Germany

Published on: 22 June 2014
Harrison Afful

There were just five minutes remaining of an electrifying encounter between Ghana and Germany. The two sides had left no inch of turf uncovered at Estadio Castelao and the score was locked at 2-2.

Yet despite the heat and humidity in Fortaleza - strength-sapping conditions for any player - there was one man who continued to charge around the pitch, dashing back to win the ball before roaring upfield again to send in a dangerous cross.

That man was Ghana No23 Harrison Afful, who had been patrolling the Black Stars’ right flank all match long yet still seemed to have more pace and energy than any of the other 21 players on the field.

A relatively unknown name on the global scene, performances like this at the 2014 FIFA World Cup mean Afful is unlikely to remain in the shadows for much longer.

How, you might ask, can such a phenomenal athlete have stayed below the radar for so long, particularly at nearly 28 years of age? The answer is simple: Afful has never played in European football.

He has not lacked offers, but the all-action wing-back has instead preferred to continue with Tunisian giants Espérance Sportive de Tunis, where he has spent the past four years.

“I’ve had offers, but I didn’t feel they were right for me,” said a smiling and refreshingly humble Afful, speaking to after the Germany game. “I’m happy in Tunis and they’ve always treated me very well, I wouldn’t want to leave just for the sake of trying something new. That said, if an interesting opportunity does come my way, of course I’d consider it,” he added with a glint in his eye.

Hope still intact

Of course, the versatile defender has more strings to his bow than merely speed and stamina. Citing a never-say-die attitude as a further strength, Afful's technical quality is remarkable too, as demonstrated when he sent in the pinpoint cross that enabled Andre Ayew to head Ghana level at 1-1.

“It [fighting spirit] is part of me. If I wasn’t like that, I wouldn’t be myself,” said the diminutive dynamo. “Ever since I was very young I’ve been quick and I’ve always liked having the ball, so when I’m near it I have to go looking for it. What’s more, I really love my country and my team-mates, so I’ll never stop giving everything I’ve got to help them.”

How does Afful see Ghana’s chances of progressing from Group G, now that their destiny is not solely in their hands? “It’s a shame we couldn’t win today. It would have been great to take all three points. But we ran ourselves into the ground and played really well against a team of the calibre of Germany,” he said, before signing off with a vow to all Black Stars’ followers. “We’ve still got a game to go and we’re going to give it our all to go through. If we don’t qualify, it won’t be for lack of effort.”


This article has 13 comment(s), give your comment
  • keith from germany says:
    June 22, 2014 09:47 am
    afful was my personal man of the match. sabacious u werent fair to him calling him all kinds of name for example somailia look guy. but real sabacious afful has proved u wrong. i now know it doesnt matter where u are playing.if u are good,u are definately good. where is selfmade now to criticize the defence? jonathan mensah showed his class yesterday. The german press were impressed with afful,dauda,mensah,gyan,atsu especially and kasa. ghana will qualify.impossible is nothing. portugal must beat usa.and now germany will do usa any favours
  • Benny says:
    June 22, 2014 10:23 am
    Afful was excellent.He should have slapped muller the idiotic nazi for his fake acting to send Afful off when Afful pointed his finger at him. Glad boye broke muller's nose in the end. Overall all the players did really well.Waris should have replaced Atsu instead of Jordan though .There's been a lot of praise in the British media for Ghana. Dauda couldn't have done anything on the two goals just like Kwarasey against the USA. USA will concede two goals tonight against Portugal .
  • DOGO says:
    June 22, 2014 10:27 am
    With a draw against Ghana, the Germans will try to save themselves by beating USA to win the group decisively. I can't see them doing any favors for Klinsman. Let's hope that the Yanks will suffer a defeat today.
  • Isaac asante says:
    June 22, 2014 10:28 am
    Afful did well,my man of the match went to muntari,john boye and k asamoah.
  • banget says:
    June 22, 2014 11:46 am
  • OGYA says:
    June 22, 2014 12:03 pm
    The case against Jonathan Mensah. I do not know whether it is his inexperience or what. He is the reason why Ghana is at this miserable situation in our world cup life First he was the reason why USA got the last minute corner kick to win the game against us. Instead of calmly allowing a ball to safely go out of bounds, he rushed and in the end had his legs touch the ball to give a crucial corner kick to USA Secondly, he was also the reason why Germany equalized the game against us. He stood by and allow Klose to get behind him to score. Akwesi Appiah if you really want to be considered as a good coach, there are a couple of things you need to change about you. STOP BEING VINDICTIVE. You will also need to remove FAVORITISM from your camp, surround this defense with players who are capable of playing it no matter what their age is. There was no reason to drop John Mensah and Vorsa. These two players could have easily been fit for the World cup and given you the success you have been craving for on the international seen were it not for your dumb ideas and favoritism to drop them. They could have bailed you out and prevented those two crucial goals we gave up during both the USA and Germany games. I am sure you have learned your lesson, but you will have to suffer the consequences for the rest of your life. Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.
  • selfmade says:
    June 22, 2014 12:34 pm
    Some foolish man who thinks he has been here a long time and can say any bull was talking crap about this dude! Afful has silenced this fool!
  • sululudubai says:
    June 22, 2014 12:36 pm
    I second [email protected] from Germany n muntari this two did excellent job!!that was a master piece pass from muntari to gyan!.
  • Dee says:
    June 22, 2014 12:58 pm
    Wow so this guy is not just a talented footballer, his lips are sugared too. I think Afful is one of those underrated fellas who always quietly goes about their business with all the efficiency there is. I look at him and I see a player who shares similar ploclivity with P. Lahm. Keep it up lad.
  • Maxwell Obuobi says:
    June 22, 2014 01:57 pm
    Afful is just a gem. Football Acadamy product.
  • Prophet Tunde says:
    June 22, 2014 02:37 pm
    Selfmade you are the one guilty of all manner of defeatist comment about the whole defence . Keith from Germany is spot on mentioning you as one of the culprit. I am a Nigerian but follow Ghana through and through.I had my bachelors at KNUST. Sometimes l wonder why so many people on here pick bone with you,latest is your feud with benny and navy seal and recently Chineke ,Mumbi has been all manner of mean stuff about you,l couldn't be happier to be honest they way they bombarded you. Why don't you accept mistake or ignore people .Who is that foolish man? Be bold and mention name or shut up.l know you are referring to Keith.
  • keith from germany says:
    June 22, 2014 05:23 pm
    @prophet Tunde,i know who selfmade is referring to. its not me because i havent said anything bad about afful. i have rather being defending him. i guess selfmade is reffering to real sabacious or maybe its a false guess.
  • Boro says:
    June 22, 2014 07:50 pm
    The problem with our lateral defense is their lack of consistency. I do not think yesterday match was the only match Afful or any of our lateral defenders have put up such a splendid performance but the problem has always been maintaining their form. Opare was wonderful in our first leg against Egypt but has been flopping since. Let us not hesitate but wait for the next match.