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Robert Mensah

Robert Mensah




Robert Mensah, born on June 12, 1939, was a talented Ghanaian footballer known for his skill as a goalkeeper. He gained widespread recognition for his exceptional performance while playing for Asante Kotoko, a renowned Ghanaian football club. Mensah was instrumental in leading the team to victory in the African Clubs Cup in 1970. Additionally, he played a key role in the Ghana national team's journey to the finals of the 1968 African Cup of Nations, where they finished as runners-up. Mensah also represented Ghana at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

In 1967, Mensah participated in the Africa Clubs Cup final, which resulted in a draw. However, due to a communication issue with the Ghana Football Association, Asante Kotoko missed the replay match, leading to the trophy being awarded to Zaire's TP Engelbert.

Mensah was known for his controversial playing style, often taunting opposition players by reading a newspaper while guarding the goal. He frequently wore a cap during games, which some opponents tried to remove, believing it brought bad luck due to juju. This cap earned him the nickname "Yashin," a nod to Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin, who also wore a cap during matches.

In 1970, Mensah was recognized by the French football publication France-Football as the ninth-best African football player. The following year, he was named the runner-up in the African football player of the year award.

During a qualifying match against Liberia in April 1970, Mensah faced hostility from the home crowd, who threw missiles at him. Later that year, his club team Tema Textiles Printing dismissed him for missing training sessions, which he had been skipping to train with the national team for a friendly match against the Ivory Coast.

Mensah's final game for Ghana took place on October 28, 1971, when the team was defeated by Togo and eliminated from the qualifying campaign for the 1972 African Cup of Nations.

Tragically, Robert Mensah's life was cut short on November 2, 1971, when he was murdered following Ghana's unsuccessful qualifying campaign. He was stabbed with a broken bottle during an altercation at an akpeteshie bar in Tema and died a few days later at the Tema General Hospital. Three men were arrested in connection with his death, with Isaac Melfah, an electrician, identified as the perpetrator.

A sports stadium in Cape Coast has been named in his honor, serving as the home venue for the Mysterious Dwarfs, the team where Mensah began his football career. His life and legacy have been commemorated in a folk song titled "Robert Mensah," released in 1972, which condemns excessive drinking.


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