AT long last, the posthumous autobiography of perhaps the most famous footballer Ghana has ever produced, C. K. Gyamfi, is to be launched on May 19, 2022.
Gyamfi’s fame stemmed from the fact that he not only played for Ghana, but became the most successful coach the Ghana Black Stars had ever had. It was under him that the Black Stars team won three of its four AFRICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS.
Nimble-footed as he was in his playing days, radio commentators of the time – who had to do what television does for football fans today – had to find ingenious ways of communicating his soccer artistry to thousands of their fellow Ghanaians who had only the radio to tell them what was going on during a match. In his book, Gyamfi captures one commentator’s inimitable way of describing a goal scored by Gyamfi: QUOTE:
“Gyamfi….. Gyamfi…. Gyamfi….. It’s in!”
Gyamfi’s book, assiduously composed, edited and brought to print by Fiifi Anaman, is entitled “The Black Star- Autobiography of C. K. Gyamfi.” It is beautifully produced (and illustrated with some photographs) by Digibooks [email address: [email protected]
I was honoured to be asked by the owner of the publishing firm, Digibooks, Mr Fred Labi, to write a forward to the book, when it was in “manuscript”. As a former sports writer for Drum Magazine (under the pen name ‘Kookooase Adowa’) I had encountered C. K. Gyamfi many times, and I did not need a second invitation. This is part of what I wrote:
The late “C. K.” Gyamfi dominated the Ghana football world for over half a century, achieving so many “firsts” in his career, that it is difficult to determine which were more significant than others.
Gyamfi won the African Cup of Nations three times for the Ghana Black Stars. Given Ghana’s size and resources, that is no mean achievement. C. K. was also unusual in that he played for both of Ghana’s most renowned clubs – Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak. Can you imagine the courage needed to overcome the hatred of the rival fans in changing sides from one of these clubs to the other?
It was the same courage that C. K. had when he left his old club, Asante Kotoko, to form a new club, Great Ashantis, in the same city, Kumasi, home of passionate football.
Crucial questions about Gyamfi’s character will be answered when one reads this amazing book. It was drafted by C. K. himself, and has now been lovingly put together by his fan and ghostwriter, Fiifi Anaman.
Although Anaman was too young to see C. K. exhibiting his soccer wizardry with Kotoko, Hearts or the Black Stars, his love for football is so great that he managed, through careful listening and an insatiable curiosity, to cultivate a relationship of trust and affection with C. K. The result is that C. K. confided many of his personal secrets to him, and the book is, thus, full of fascinating stories.
How did Gyamfi first discover his love for playing football; the trouble he ran into at home as a child because of his obsession with football; how football got him into one of the best schools in Accra; how he graduated from school football to club football, and how he got his first break with Koforidua Sailors. Once you start the book, you are commanded by the content to stay in order to get to know what happened next!
C. K. was, above all, a very personable guy. He would never have achieved the fame he managed to garner for himself had he not been a patient and tolerant guy. For instance, he was modest enough to survive collaboration with a man of huge ego, Ghana’s “Football Czar”, Director of Sports, Ohene-Djan.
Indeed, so cosmopolitan was C. K. that when he left the employment of the Ghana Football Association, he was able to easily accept coaching offers in Kenya and Somalia.
I concluded my forward with an account of the most glorious of Gyamfi’s achievements, his success in getting the Ghana Black Stars to win the African Cup for the third time, by beating Libya, on Libyan soil, in 1982.
The historical context of that game is quite “romantic”, in that it is laced with political intrigue. Flight-Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings had seized power in Ghana for the second time, having overthrown the government of President Hilla Limann, on December 31, 1981.
Rawlings was rumoured to have been assisted in his coup by Col. Muammar Gaddhafi of Libya. And C. K. Gyamfi was asked to lead a Ghanaian team to Libya as its coach. Was it wise of him to accept this task? The idea of a sell-out seemed 100 per cent certain! But what happened? You will enjoy the book’s narrative of events!
BY Cameron Duodu
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