World Cup Legends: Ghana and Karim Abdul Razak
Being given the name ‘Golden Boy’ could create quite a lot of pressure for a player to live up to. Karim Abdul Razak never had such an issue, recognized by the Confederation of African Football as in 2007 as one of the top 30 African players of the previous 50 years.
Born on the 18th April 1956 in Kumasi, he would attend the Asem Boy’s Elementary School with his brother Abukari. Even at an early age it wasn’t long before Razak was singled out for his ability. He would continue to catch the eye at youth level until in 1972, at the age of 16 he signed for the Kumasi Cornerstones. Three years later he would move to the club for which he appeared to have and on/off affair with – Asante Kotoko SC.
His first spell at 1975-79 would see The Porcupines win the Ghana FA Cup  and reach the quarter finals of the African Cup of Champions Clubs and establish Razak’s reputation as a midfielder. At the time his no nonsense approach, slightly fearsome demeanor earned him the name ‘Ojukwu’ after the Biafran leader [said to always wear a serious frown]. This period would also see Razak come to attention for his performances in the 1978 African Cup of Nations.
During the tournament Razak would score two match winning goals – in the opening match against Zambia as the Black Stars came from behind to win 2-1 and in the semi-final against Tunisia as Ghana won 1-0. Razak’s score was known as ‘The Golden Goal’. The Black Stars would win the title beating Uganda 2-0 in the final, Razak dominant which led to him being voted African Player of the Year and the name ‘Golden Boy’.
Unsurprisingly his performances brought attention from abroad and in 1979 departed for the New York Cosmos to play alongside Johann Neeskens and Carlos Alberto in the razzamatazz of the North American Soccer League. After only two years the ‘Golden Boy’ returned home to The Porcupines for the 1981-2 season, winning the league and finishing runners-up in the African Cup of Champions. A year at Al Ain FC was followed by a move to Arab Contractors SC in Egypt where he would win the league title and be named Player of the Year in 1983-5 at a time when the Egyptian league was recognized as one of the strongest in Africa.
In 1985 Razak returned again for a three-year spell at Asante Kotoko SC and two more league titles before finishing his career with a two-year spell at Africa Sports d’Abidjan and a Côte D’Ivoire league title and two domestic cups. By the end of his career ‘Golden Boy’ had amassed 70 caps for the Black Stars scoring 25 goals.
Razak understanding and ability to read of the game coupled with [as written by Iwedi Ojinmah of Supersport] “absolute ball control and the ever rare gift to make average teammates unquestionably superior if not borderline great”, arguably rises him to one of the best midfielders Ghana has seen.
GREATEST SQUAD – STARTING XI [4-3-3]
————————————— ROBERT MENSAH
———- SAMUEL KUFFOR ——–DOGO MORO
EDWARD BOYE HESSE ODAMETTEN
KARIM ABDUL RAZAK ABEDI PELE
IBRAHIM SUNDAY MOHAMMED POLO
GREATEST SQUAD – RESERVES
GK: JOSEPH CARR
GK: RICHARD KINGSON
CB: JAMES KUUKU DADZIE
CB: JOHN ESHUN
SWP: CHARLES ADDO ODAMPTEY
CM: SULLY MUNTARI
CM: OSEI KOFI
CM: STEPHEN APPIAH
LW: YAW SAM
RW: JOHN NKETSIAH YAWSON
ST: BABA YARA
ST: CHARLES KUMI GYAMFI