Ghana mourns C. K. Gyamfi

C.K-GyamfiGhana is in a state of mourning following the announcement of the passing of the nation’s most iconic and successful football coach, C.K. Gyamfi aged 85.

Gyamfi died on Wednesday, 2nd September aged 85 at the Cocoa Clinic in Accra after a long illness.

He was the first African player to play in Germany, when he joined Fortuna Dusseldorf in 1960, and he also captained the Black Stars.

He was the first Ghanaian and African coach to win the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations three times in 1963, 1965 and 1982.

His record in the tournament is only equaled by Egyptian coach Hassan Shehata who also won his third Africa Cup of Nations in 2010.

He also twice coached the national football team at the 1964 Summer Olympics and the 1972 Olympics tournaments.

He was a member of FIFA's Technical Study Group for the 1999 and 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Locally, he was one of a few coaches to have coached the two biggest clubs sides in Ghana: Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

National Hero

A one-time player and captain of the national football team, the Black Stars, Gyamfi took over the reins of the national team in the 60’s, leading the Black Stars to successfully win their first Africa Cup of Nations trophy on home soil in 1963.

He was credited with leading the first smooth transition of players in the national team in 1965 when he took the unpopular decision of dropping all but four of the 1963 African Nations Cup winning squad ahead of their title defence in Tunisia.

Gyamfi and his team virtually left the country for Tunisia under the cover of darkness, after much public outcry over his decision to select “school boys” for such an important tournament. 

Against the odds, he again led the revamped national team with a lot of youngsters to successful defend their crown in Tunisia, to the surprise of many.

Alongside the nation’s first director of Sports, Ohene Djan, Gyamfi is also credited with helping establish grassroots football development structures in 60’s, leading to the formation of the national Academicals, the New Horizon and the Real Republicans.

Gyamfi, returned to the national scene again in 1982, and lifted Ghanaian hearts this time leading the team to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Libya while the country was experiencing very difficult economic conditions.

He will be fondly remembered as a nationalist, the most successful Ghanaian coach, a father and a national icon.