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Baba Yara

Baba Yara




Baba Yara, originally named Osman Seidu Maada, was a legendary Ghanaian footballer renowned for his exceptional goal-scoring ability and impressive career as a winger. Born on October 12, 1936, in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, he began his sports journey as a horse jockey at the Accra Turf Club between 1950 and 1955. His football career took off when he joined Asante Kotoko in 1955, quickly establishing himself as a top player. In his debut match against Dunkwa Town IX, Yara scored all three of his team's goals in a 3-3 draw.

As a versatile player, Yara often donned the number 7 shirt and played as a right-winger. His exceptional performances earned him the title of Ghana Player of the Year in 1959 and 1960. He also played a key role in Asante Kotoko's dominance over their arch-rivals Hearts of Oak during his time with the club.

In the early 1960s, Yara joined the Real Republicans, a team created by President Nkrumah to consist of some of the best players in the country. He played alongside one of Africa's greatest goal scorers, Edward Acquah, and was instrumental in supplying Acquah with many of his goals. Yara's career with the Real Republicans was marked by great success on a continental level.

Yara made his debut for the Ghana national team, the Black Stars, in 1955. He won the Most Distinguished Member of the Black Stars award in 1961, the highest Ghanaian football honor at the time. Yara was part of the Ghanaian squad that won the 1963 African Cup of Nations and also played in their unsuccessful 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.

Tragically, Yara's career was cut short at its peak by a car accident in Kpeve, Volta Region, on March 24, 1963. He suffered a spinal injury that left him paralyzed and unable to play football again. He was flown to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England for treatment but did not regain full recovery. He returned to Ghana in a wheelchair in August 1963.

Baba Yara passed away on May 5, 1969, at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital at the age of 33. His legacy as one of Ghana's greatest footballers lives on, with the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi being named in his honor in 2005. His exceptional talent and dedication to the sport continue to inspire future generations of Ghanaian footballers.


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