On this day 18th March 1978, which is exactly 42 years today, Ghana won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the 3rd time and became only the first Nation to win the competition for keeps by beating The Cranes of Uganda 2-0 at the Accra Sports Stadium. The Black Stars had won the tournament in 1963 and 1965.
The tournament was the 11th edition of the AFCON and it was hosted by Ghana. Eight teams participated in the tournament and the matches were played in Accra and in Kumasi.
Ghana placed first in the group A with 5 points, they defeated Zambia 2-1 in the first game, drew 1-1 against Nigeria and beat Upper Volta, now named Burkina Faso by 3-0. The Nigerians also finished second in Group A with 4 points, Zambia finished 3rd with 3 points and Upper Volta finished bottom of the Group with no points.
The competition’s runners up Uganda also topped Group B with 4 points and plus 3 goals, Tunisia finished second with 4 points and plus 2 goals. Morocco finished 3rd with 3 points and Congo finished bottom of the group with a point.
It is a thing to note that nations were awarded 2 points for winning a game and a point for drawing.
Ghana played Tunisia in the semifinal and won 1-0, whiles Uganda defeated Nigeria 2-1 in the other semifinal game.
Ghana went on to defeat Uganda 2-0 in the final and clinch the trophy. Opoku Afriyie “Bayie” scored both goals. Nigeria finished 3rd after Tunisia abandoned the game in the 42nd minute with the score tied at 1-1 to protest the officiating. Nigeria were awarded a 2-0 win.
The AFCON win was Ghana’s 3rd, the most by any country as at then. Opoku Afriyie was named top scorer, whiles Abdul Razak “Golden boy” was named player of the tournament.
Ghana’s squad for the tournament
Goalkeepers; Joseph Carr (Hasaacas), Abdulai Chesco (SS 1974), Fuseini Salifu (Asante Kotoko)
Defenders: P.S.K. Paha (Eleven Wise), Ofei Ansah (Hearts of Oak), Haruna Yusif (Corners), Isaac Acquaye (Dumas Boys of GTP), Awuley Quaye (Great Olympics -Captain), James Kuuku Dadzie (Hasaacas), Justice Moore (Eleven Wise).
Midfielders: Adolf Armah (Hearts of Oak), John Nketia Yawson (Eleven Wise), Addae Kyenkyehene (Asante Kotoko), Karim Abdul Razak (Asante Kotoko), Mohammed Ahmed Polo (Hearts of Oak)
Forwards: Dan Kayede (Great Olympics), George Alhassan (Great Olympics), Emmanuel Quarshie (Hasaacas), Opoku Afriyie (Asante Kotoko), Anas Seidu (Hearts of Oak), Willie Klutse (Dumas Boys), Kuntu Blankson (SS 1974)
Coach: Fred Osam-Duodu
Assistant Coach: E.K Afranie