Ghana football has been hit by the demise of former Black Stars striker, Opoku Afriyie.
The 75 year old former striker passed away on Sunday, March 29, 2020 and it has become a great shock to the entire football family in the country.
He was born in Accra on the 2nd February, 1955 to the late Oyokene of Kumasi, Nana Kofi Poku and Madam Abena Mansah.
Opoku passed away at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital after battling with an unconfirmed illness for sometime.
There have been so many tributes being given by football administrators, former players and fans to celebrate the life of one great footballer for Ghana.
He began his playing career with King Faisal Babies in Kumasi before moving to Kotoko and then finishing at Hearts of Oak. The club was then called Olympics Babies before been changed to King Faisal by owner Alhaji Grunsah.
He went on to lay for Anokye Stars where he was spotted by the then management of Asante Kotoko.
Kotoko and Hearts
Opoku Afriyie was named “Bayie” for his wizardry tricks on the field during football matches.
Supporters of Kumasi Asante Kotoko nicknamed him “Bayie ”, “Ayen”, or “Businessman” but he was christened “Nii Opoku” after his exploits assisted Accra Hearts of Oak to her first league win in five years in 1984.
He made his name with Kotoko but his short stint with Hearts of Oak in the mid-1980s would never be forgotten, not just for what he accomplished on the field of play, but how he showed Hearts the “light” off the field.
He was the top scorer in the Ghana domestic football league in 1979 and 1981.
Black Stars and Africa
Afriyie won the hearts of football fans in 1978 by scoring twice to help the Black Stars account for Uganda in the Afcon final. He also featured at the 1980 tournament.
He was the joint top scorer of the competition with three goals along with Nigeria’s Segun Odegbami and Philip Omondi of Uganda.
The former goal poacher was nominated by French Magazine for the African Footballer of the Year in 1982 and he came eighth.
Bayie was also among twenty other Ghanaians nominated by the Confederation of African Football out of a total of 200 African footballers for the title of the best African player of the last five decades.
After hanging up his boots, Opoku took up roles as team manager and welfare officer of the Black Stars.
He was named team manager of Kotoko in 2003 and later went on to become welfare officer and team manager for the Black Stars from 2005 to 2013.
Ghana football has lost a legend who needs to be celebrated by the world of football.