Remarkably, Hans Sarpei has played in 10 of the last 11 successive CAF Africa Cup of Nations final matches for Ghana but has sat on the sidelines for much of the Black Stars action in between. The German-based full back is among the long-standing internationals of the team, having made his debut almost one decade ago, but has had a patchy career since. He was in the squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ finals but did not play. He can, however, boast of having been to three different Nations Cup tournaments. At the last two, he has proved a talismanic figure for Ghana, filling in during crisis and proving his fortitude and the considerable experience picked up after a career playing in the German Bundesliga.
Sarpei did not miss a single minute of the six matches that Ghana played at the 2008 finals, which they hosted and where they finished third. In Angola, at the start of this year, the 33-year-old missed the first match but was drafted in after that to help secure wins over Burkina Faso, Angola and Nigeria before playing a full 90 minutes in the final in Luanda against Egypt. In between the 2008 and 2010 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Sarpei played in just one international, a friendly against Tunisia and did not feature in a single game in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. But that almost two-year hiatus from the team is not as long as the five years it took him to earn his second cap after debuting in a Nations Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe in October 2000. Only again in March 2005 did he reappear on the Ghanaian radar, going on to appear briefly as a substitute in one match at the 2006 Nations Cup tournament.