The Sonny Side of Sports remembers one of the pillars of Ghana football, Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, who died May 12th of throat cancer at age 70.
Attuquayefio had a long and distinguished coaching career. I had a chance to interview him in 2001 in the capital, Accra, where he led a squad of locally based Ghanaian players to a 0-0 draw against a heavily favored Nigerian team in a World Cup qualifying match.
In 2000, Attuquayefio guided Accra’s Hearts of Oak club to their first continental title in the African Champions League.
In addition, Attuquayefio was in charge of Benin in 2004 when the country qualified for its first Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
And he was an assistant coach on Ghana’s team when it won Africa’s first Olympic medal in men’s football, a bronze, at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Attuquayefio also represented the Black Stars, the nickname of Ghana’s national team, as a player and won the Nations Cup in 1965.
The current Black Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan, wrote on Twitter that Attuquayefio was a legend, a great coach and an inspirer who handed him his first chance. Gyan played under Attuquayefio in 2003 with Accra’s Liberty Professionals club.
The Ghana Football Association also paid tribute to the man who served as a vice-president of the GFA in the 1980s and 1990s.
A GFA statement said: “Attuquayefio’s contribution to football in our country touched the lives of many people not only in Ghana, but also in many countries in Africa. The GFA is immensely hurt by the loss of such a talented footballer, coach and administrator who shaped the lives and careers of many Ghanaian footballers.”