Ghanaian football has been rocked by the passing of three of its former standouts in recent weeks. George Alhassan and Emmanuel Quarshie both performed prominent functions in the Black Stars’ captivating, conquering side of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1982, while Benjamin Dwomoh refereed at the FIFA World Cup™ that same year.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has expressed his sadness at the losses in separate letters to Ghana Football Association President Kwesi Nyantakyi.

“George Alhassan, who played for clubs in Ghana, Gabon and Korea [Republic], as well as for the Black Stars, will be remembered for his accomplishments and the contributions he made to our sport, in particular his performance in the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations, which Ghana won on home soul, wrote Blatter, who remarked on Quarshie: “He served the game with great distinction and success, both as player and coach, captained Ghana to their fourth Africa Cup of Nations victory in 1982, and was no doubt an inspiration to your country’s current exciting crop of players.

“Benjamin will be sorely missed but also fondly remembered as a FIFA referee who officiated in the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. He also served the Ghana Football Association as a General Secretary and a member of the Disciplinary Committee. Benjamin will be remembered for the contributions he made to Ghanaian football and for his skilled refereeing.”

Alhassan, who was known as Jair after Brazilian great Jairzinho, helped Ghana conquer the continent in 1978 and 1982, finishing as the top scorer in the latter tournament and being named in its team of the tournament. The former striker’s son Kalif plays for Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer.

Quarshie was made the best XI from Cup on Nations in 1982. A powerful player and fine finisher, he was nicknamed ‘Abega’ after the Cameroonian great Theophile Abega, who sadly died ten months ago.

Quarshie inspired Hasaacas to the West African Football Union (WAFU) crown in 1982, and to a runners-up finish the following year. Thereafter, he moved to Giza giants Zamalek, whom he helped end a six-year league title drought and become African club champions in 1984. Quarshie also had a spell in Saudi Arabia before going into coaching.