On this day, 16 December 2007 (Exactly 12 years ago today), President John Agyekum Kufuor inaugurated the refurbished and upgraded Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi amidst pomp and pageantry from the large crowd of people who thronged the Stadium to witness the event.
The President earlier cut the tape to inaugurate a fountain donated by Consar, contractors of the project and unveiled a commemorative plaque at the main entrance to the stadium.
In an address the President Kufuor said that government was committed to the development of sports facilities in the country and to this end, a 20,000 seating capacity stadium would be built at Cape Coast in the Central Region following year similar to the ones at Tamale and Sekondi which would be replicated in the other regions.
President Kufuor commended the contractors for the additional facilities incorporated to the original contract and urged spectators to ensure they handle the facilities with care while urging the authorities to also adopt sound management practices to maintain the facilities to stand the test of time.
He stressed the need for all and sundry to demonstrate goodwill and hospitality to people who would come to Ghana for the African Cup of Nations tournament the next year.
In a friendly international match between the nation’s Under-17 and their Ivorian counterparts, the Ivorians won the match 2-0. Both goals came in the first half with the Young Elephants scoring through a spot taken by Trilore Adama in the 32nd minute.
The Ivorians who dominated the game made their Ghanaian counterparts chase their own shadows in most parts of the match before scoring their second goal in the 38 minute through Seri Jean Micheal.
On this day 16 December 2005 (Exactly 14 years ago today) Six individuals were elected by the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) to become members of the newly created 22-man Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA). The six were elected to represent the interest of the Premier League Clubs at the top-level management board of the GFA.
The elected members were, Mr George Amoako of Kumasi King Faisal, Kudjo Fianoo of Obuasi Ashgold, Nana Ntiri of Okwawu United, Awuah Nyamekye of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Randy Abbey of Accra Hearts of Oak and Abu Jones Alhassan representing Real Tamale United (RTU).
The new arrangement was in conformity with the new statues of the GFA.
On this day 16 December 2000 (Exactly 19 years ago today) Late in a game against Everton and with both sides vying for the winning goal, West Ham’s Paulo Di Canio shunned a goal-scoring opportunity and stopped play, grabbing the ball from a cross inside the box, as the Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was lying injured on the ground after he twisted his knee attempting a clearance on the edge of the box.
The Goodison Park crowd reacted with a standing ovation. FIFA officially lauded Di Canio’s gesture, describing it as “a special act of good sportsmanship,” and awarded him next year the FIFA Fair Play Award.
On this day 16 December 2007 (Exactly 12 years ago today) AC Milan beat Boca Juniors 4-2 to become the first European winners of the FIFA Club World Cup. A double from Filippo Inzaghi and goals from Alessandro Nesta and Kaka earned the Italians a deserved victory at the International Stadium in Yokohama, where a sell-out crowd was treated to a fitting climax to a thrilling tournament.
It took Carlo Ancelotti’s side 21 minutes to make the breakthrough. Kaka drove at the Boca defence and after his shot was blocked, he instinctively and superbly drove the ball into the path of Inzaghi, who did not require a second invitation to slot the ball home from six yards. From the restart, though, Boca quickly moved the ball up the other end and Rodrigo Palacio nodded home to level the scores.
Play resumed at a frenetic pace following the interval and within five minutes, Nesta’s stunning volley restored Milan’s advantage. A couple of menacing runs from the lively Kaka threatened to add to their lead, while only the post denied Hugo Ibarra a superb, long-range equaliser.
With Kaka in inspirational form, though, Milan began to dominate proceedings and it was the Brazilian who made it 3-1 just after the hour mark, slotting through the goalkeeper’s legs from a tight angle after a purposeful charge down the left flank. The 25-year-old, a candidate to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award at tomorrow’s Gala, then supplied a second goal for Inzaghi in the 71st minute.
Pablo Ledesma reduced the deficit with time running out, but the day belonged to AC Milan, who succeeded where the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United (both 2000), Liverpool (2005) and Barcelona(2006) had failed.
On this day 16 December 2012 (Exactly 7 years ago today) Paolo Guerrero poached a 69th-minute winner as South American champions Corinthians ambushed Chelsea to win the Club World Cup, triggering wild celebrations in Yokohama.
Chelsea, who had been under pressure to win the tournament after becoming the first holders to exit the Champions League at the group stage, missed a string of chances.
“It doesn’t matter how skilful the opposition is, our players have the work-rate, energy and teamwork to overcome,” Corinthians coach Tite told reporters.
On this day 16 December 2017 (Exactly 2 years ago today) Real Madrid have become the first side to retain the FIFA Club World Cup, earning a 1-0 win over Gremio to lift the title at UAE 2017.
A second-half strike from Cristiano Ronaldo was enough to hand the Madrid giants victory, having dominated the encounter with the South American champions in Abu Dhabi.
The game began with a thump, with plenty of physicality on show. However, it was the title holders that found their rhythm quickest. Dani Carvajal and Luka Modric both had the band blue and black-clad fans in the Zayed Sports City Stadium inhaling sharply.
Though the large amount of local support were not spared some nervous moments either in the opening period, with Edilson striking a swerving rocket of a free-kick inches over Keylor Navas’s crossbar.
Having had two-thirds of the possession before the break, Real returned for the second half looking to make it count. It did not take them long and it was Ronaldo, who broke the resistance. Striking a free-kick from 25 yards, it is no surprise there was an instant inquest among the Gremio wall, as the ball nestled in the bottom corner, having seen the Portuguese’s shot pierce clean through it.
He thought he had taken his record goalscoring tally in the Club World Cup from seven to eight, volleying in seven minutes later, but Karim Benzema’s fine nod down was adjudged to have been from an offside position.
Gremio failed to rouse a response, with goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe forced into fine saves from Modric – tipping his effort onto the post – Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale to stay within touching distance of Los Blancos. However, they could not prevent Zinedine Zidane guiding the Spanish side to successive titles, equalling Barcelona’s record tally of three.
Real Madrid won a record breaking fourth Club World Cup title last year.
On this day 16; December 1958 (Exactly 61 years ago today) Real Madrid’s French midfielder Raymond Kopa won the Ballon d’Or Award for best football player in Europe ahead of German winger Helmut Rahn and French forward Just Fontaine
On this day 16 December 1899 (Exactly 120 years ago today) Italian football club A.C. Milan was founded as Milan Foot-Ball and Cricket Club.
The club was founded by three English expatriates, Alfred Edwards, Herbert Kilpin and Samuel Davies, hence the English spelling of ‘Milan’ rather than the local dialect, Milano.
The men, along with three other fellow Englishmen, would regularly meet in the city to socialise and reminisce about life back in England, and it was on one of these evenings at Milan’s Fiaschetteria Toscana bar during the winter of 1899 that the idea of forming a football and cricket club was born.
At 49-years old, Edwards was the oldest of the group, and as such was named the club’s first ever president. David Allison was chosen to be the club’s team captain, while Davies, Hoberlin Hoode and Kurt Lies all played for Milan in their debut season.
However, it was Herbert Kilpin that was the driving force behind Milan in those early days.
The butcher’s son from Nottingham had developed an obsession with football from a young age, and had even set up his own amateur club at just 13-years old.
In 1891, the then 21-year old Kilpin was sent to work in Turin for textiles merchant Edoardo Bosio, a friend and associate of his boss Thomas Adams. Bosio shared Kilpin’s love of the game, and had himself founded Torino Football and Cricket Club five years earlier. In 1897 Kiplin was sent by Bosio to Milan, where he would go on to meet the fellow founding members of the club.
The lace-marker was named as Milan’s player-manager, thanks largely to his charisma, intelligence and fanatical love of football.
Milan CFC’s first match was a 2-0 victory in a friendly against Mediolanum, then their debut season in the Italian Championship in 1900 would come to a close with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of FBC Torinese.
Kilpin’s side didn’t have to wait long until their first taste of success, though. The following year Milan beat Mediolanum (again 2-0) and Juventus (3-2) on their way to a final against Genoa – the team that had won all of the first three Italian titles. The match had ended 0-0 after normal time, but Milan ran out 3-0 winners at the end of extra-time to lift their first title.
STORIES: GEORGE MAHAMAH