Football legend Gariba goes home

BY: George Ernest Asare
Abukari Gariba

Former Asante Kotoko and the Black Stars great Abukari Gariba was laid to rest yesterday following his death on Saturday  January 23rd in Kumasi after a short illness. He was 81.

The late Gariba was buried at the Tafo cemetery after afternoon prayers at the Central Mosque at Asawase, Kumasi on Sunday January 24th , in line with Muslim tradition.

The deceased paid his dues for Ghana football during his heyday for club and country.

Known in football circles as 'Goal Namafife’ (translated from Twi as I'm only interested in goals), Abukari was a member of Kotoko's Africa Clubs Championship-winning team of 1971 when he teamed up with legends such as Robert Mensah, Ben Kusi, Oliver Acquah,Ibrahim Sunday, Yaw Sam and Malik Jabir to win Kotoko's first continental trophy.

He was also part of Ghana’s team that competed at the 1968 and 1972 Summer Olympics.

The late Gariba is remembered by the Kotoko faithful for scoring the opening goal in their 2-1 win against T.P. Englebert in the 1971 African Cup final before teammate Jabir scored the winning goal.

Ironically, Gariba was buried on the 50th anniversary of that historic continental triumph in Kinshasa, capital of then Zaire (now DR Congo) on January 24, 1971.

Jabir, who played alongside his former teammate since their time at Tamale before moving together to Kotoko and the national team, described his late friend as one of the most dedicated strikers he had ever known.

Another Kotoko and Black Stars great, Frimpong Manso, told the Daily Graphic that he was heartbroken at the demise of the football legend because he visited him early in the month and he looked healthy.

"He has paid his dues to the nation, except that Ghana doesn’t reward those who sacrifice their lives for the nation," he said.

Nana Yaw Owusu’s one-week rites

 Meanwhile the one-week funeral ceremony of a former vice chairman of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Nana Yaw Owusu Akwanuasa, would be held on Thursday January 28  at Akosommo, near Yabe in the Atwima Kwanwoma District of the Ashanti Region.
Owusu died at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi on January 8, 2021 after a short illness.

A former management committee member of Asante Kotoko during the Sylvester Asare Owusu administration, the late Nana Yaw Owusu was also the Mpaboahene of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.