Player Profiles: Tony Yeboah

Introducing our newest feature: Player Profiles, in which I will look at the careers of some of the players who have made our lives just that little bit better (or worse if they were continually brilliant against your team) with their footballing ability.

The first man I’m looking at was suggested by Ryan Howden, but I can guarantee I’d have got to him eventually simply because of the phenomenal impact he had on the game, and the fact that he is arguably one of the best African footballers ever. Presenting, Ghanaian wonder goal machine Anthony “Tony” Yeboah.

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Fact File

Name: Anthony Yeboah

Date of Birth: 6th June 1966

Nationality: Ghanaian

International Caps/Goals: 59/29

Born in Ghana in 1966 Tony Yeboah grew up playing football for various teams around Ghana before moving to German side FC Saarbrücken in 1988. The move made him one of the first African footballers to move to Europe and arguably paved the way for the others to make the move as well. Yeboah played just the 2 years at Saarbrücken scoring 26 goals in 65 games and attracted the attention of many a club across the nation. A move to Eintracht Frankfurt followed, where he became the first black player signed by Bundesliga side. In a 5 year career at Frankfurt Yeboah established himself as one of the most prolific strikers in Germany averaging about a goal every 2 games, 68 goals in 123. Despite this he clashed with manager Jupp Heynckes (who is now manager of Bayern Munich) and was sent on loan to Leeds United for the second half of the 1994-95 season. In that loan spell he played 18 times, scoring 12 and as you would expect Leeds made the move permanent at the end of the season in a deal worth £3.4 million.

Yeboah announced himself to English fans with a series of sensational goals that saw him consistently feature in Goal of the Month competitions, here are just 2 examples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPTmLzNLkDo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBBnKu5bnCE

I remember seeing those goals for the first time aged 6 or 7 and just thinking I had to see if I could do that too, unfortunately I spent more of my time running round to collect the ball after a speculative shot flew over the garden wall. Tony Yeboah I am not. The Ghanaian absolutely LOVED a crashing shot in off the bar, something that is still referred to as a “Yeboah” by football fans around the country.

In 1997, following another falling out with his manager (this time George Graham) Yeboah left Leeds United and returned to play in Germany with Hamburg. Aged 31 he was still a threat, and after playing in exactly 100 games for Hamburg he scored 28 goals. The big man ended his career in Qatar with Al-Ittihad before moving back to Ghana where he has established a hotel business. He also works with the Ghanaian national team as a striker coach, and who better for those young men to learn from? Yeboah is the 2nd top scorer in Ghana’s history (behind Abedi Pele) and played at a time when African footballers were not seen as great prospects, something he helped to change.

So there we have it, one of the greatest African footballers of all time. Just imagine how different the game would have been if he hadn’t decided to make the move from Africa to Europe. One thing is for sure, it would have been a lot harder to pick Goal of the Month winners.

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