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The Legends (EQ)

Emmanuel Quaye/Twenty Ten

Associated feature: Le Bombardier (Photo feature), What have they become? (Photo feature), All Whites (Photo feature), Qui sont-ils devenus?Congo (Audio feature), Que sont-ils devenus? Cameroon (Audio feature), Death of a Legend (Photo feature)

Location: Accra, Ghana

There has been much debate in the run up to the FIFA World Cup over the attitude of modern soccer players towards the game. Some say that it has become a money-motivated business, which is far removed from days gone by when players were driven by the honour of representing their nation.

To wear the Black Stars football jersey was once considered a great privilege, and the dream of many young men. Some turned down lucrative offers to play football overseas, all for the love of their country.

“We were made to feel a sense of pride and we were prepared to die for the nation and not for money,” said one retired football legend.

Some of these heroes refused to wear football boots when they toured Great Britain as a mark of the pride they had in their homeland.

Despite their glory days and the service they did for their country, many of these soccer legends now live in destitution.

Some have died paupers, others are bed ridden or ill and cannot afford medical attention.

Among these revered heroes are: C.K. Gyamfi, Sam Anum Okai, Edward Acquah, Rev. Kofi Pare, Reverend Osei Kofi, Joe De Graft, Mohamed Polo, Akuetteh Armah, John Naawu and Oman Mensah. Others are Ibrahim Sunday, Opoku Afriyie, Cecil Jones Attuquafio, James Kpakpo Allotey, Edmund Adjetey Obadzen, Theophilus Tettey Aryee, Abdul Karim Razak, Leite Lartey and Abedi Pele.

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