President of football’s world governing body, FIFA, Gianni Infantino has sent a heartfelt message expressing his condolences to the family and loved ones of former Black Stars striker Opoku Afriyie, who died last Sunday.
Infantino, in a message to GFA President Kurt Okraku, described Afriyie as “one of football’s gentlemen”, adding that he will be sorely missed.
“One of Ghana football’s gentlemen, striker and two-time Ghana Premier League top-scorer, his legacy and trajectory on and off the pitch will not be forgotten and he will be truly missed,” Infantino’s tribute read.
“On behalf of the international football community, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the Ghana Football Association, and to Afriyie’s family, friends and loved ones. Our thoughts are with all of you. May his soul rest in peace.”
Tributes have been pouring in from all over the world following the demise of Opoku Afriyie.
Black Stars head coach, Charles Kwablan Akonnor said he was saddened by Afriyie’s death and that he would “forever be in my heart”
Former Black Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan earlier expressed his sorrow over Afriyie’s death, describing him as the ‘striker’s striker’.
Opoku Afryie, admired throughout his professional career for his wonderful finishing ability, was one of the few players to play for Ghana’s two biggest clubs; Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
His time at the Kumasi club was probably more significant as he captained the side and he went on to become the club’s team manager in 2003, a job he later took up for the Black Stars as well.
He was top scorer in Ghana’s top-flight twice in his career; in 1979 and two years later in 1981, when he led Kotoko to the league title.
Afriyie made his mark for the national team as well playing in Ghana’s 1978 AFCON-winning team and scoring both goals in the final as Ghana won the cup for keeps against Uganda.
He also scored in Ghana’s opening group game at that tournament; a 2-1 win over Zambia.
Afriyie was ranked the eighth-best player in Africa in 1982.
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