For a team regularly listed among the favourites for the Africa Cup of Nations trophy each time, it is quite fascinating that the last time Ghana laid their hands on the trophy was 39 years ago.
In the 1982 success in Libya, the Black Stars beat the hosts 7-6 on penalties to lift the cup, the match having ended 1-1 after extra-time.
In regular time, George Alhassan netted to give the visitors a 37th minute lead but Ali Al-Behari hit back for The Mediterranean Knights 20 minutes to full-time to level the score.
With no further goals in extra-time, the game headed into a shoot-out where Alhassan, Isaac Paha, Sampson Lamptey, Albert Asaase, Windsor Kofi Abbrey, Emmanuel Quarshie and Opoku Afriyie converted to deliver Ghana the cup.
It was the Black Stars’ second meeting with The Mediterranean Knights at the competition following a 2-2 draw in the tournament opener.
En route to the final, Ghana accounted for Algeria in the semi-final (3-2 after extra-time), having finished second to progress from the group stage after draws with Libya and Cameroon (2-2) and a 1-0 triumph over Tunisia.
That was the time when Afcon welcomed only eight teams.
Since the 1982 success, Ghana’s last of four titles, it has been nothing but disappointments for the Black Stars on three returns to the final.
In 1992, Ghana, led by Anthony Yeboah and Anthony Baffoe, succumbed 11-10 on penalties to Cote d’Ivoire in the final following a 0-0 draw after extra-time. Talisman Abedi Ayew Pele missed the final due to suspension.
An Asamoah Gyan and Kwadwo Asamoah-inspired Black Stars came close in 2010 in Angola, but Mohamed Nagy Gedo’s 85th minute strike ensured a 1-0 victory for Egypt.
At the 2015 championship in Equatorial Guinea, the Black Stars, again lost, this time 8-7 to Cote d’Ivoire on penalties. Gyan, Andre Ayew and Christian Atsu were arguably the key men of that side.
Significantly, but for the 2019 championship in Egypt, Ghana have made the semi-finals of every Afcon tournament since 2006.
At the delayed 2021 championship in Cameroon next year where they have been drawn against Morocco, Gabon and Comoros in the group stage, Milovan Rajevac’s side will hope to shatter their poor run and leave the January 9 – February 6 gathering with gold.