The full-back positions have undergone a major transformation over the last decade, and one could make a case for a full-backs attacking output now being as important if not more important than their defensive duties these days
No longer there merely to stop the opposite team’s wingers wreaking havoc, the modern game dictates that now they must be both defensive giants and an attacking force. As the notion of inverted wingers continues to grow and central areas see a greater number of bodies and become ever tighter, full-backs are being increasingly looked toward to offer an outlet and for width.
Even with all the advances in the modern game, there is still a dearth of good left footed footballers. As such, the role of the modern left-back has been harder to fill now. A player is supposed to defend, aid his midfielders, press and then lunge forward to join the attack on every opportunity available.
To do this for 90 minutes is not an easy task, especially with all the running and tracking involved. Thankfully, there are still a few good players in the Ghanaian topflight who have championed this position and its nuances.
We at kickgh.com attempts to pick out the top performers among them and bring you the 7 exciting left-backs in the Ghanaian Premier League.
Baba Salifu Apiiga- Accra Lions
Probably the least known on this list, but certainly not the least talented, Baba Salifu Apiiga has been outstanding for his club this campaign. At just 15, the Accra Lions full-back has earned plaudits for his speed, technical qualities and ability to make a tackle. In other words, he’s all you could ever want in a left-back.
Blessed with lightning pace and lovely close control, Tedeku is a real swashbuckling full-back capable of driving deep into opposition territory with the ball at his feet. Positionally, he is outstanding and is more than capable of switching from being in a back four to a wing-back role.
Rarely does he need to dive into tackles, due to both his speed and anticipation, but, when necessary, he does so with assurance and often comes away with the ball in his possession.
Like many young defenders, his positional sense could do with some refinement, but certainly an exciting prospect for the club.
Anyone lucky enough to see his performance would have been suitably impressed with the 15-year-old’s obvious talent. He is a member of Ghana’s national U17 team.
Joe Boateng – Kotoku Royals
The Kotoku Royals defender has been stellar for his club this season and is another left-back with an attacking mentality. He has made a name for himself after a string of impressive performances on the field.
He is quite strong in the air as well as composed on the ground and rarely allows players to dribble past him. Like many of the best left-backs in the world, Boateng loves to go forward and is actually an excellent passer of the ball.
He likes taking set pieces and is quite good at them too. Once on the ball, he likes to build up play by using short passing. He adds trademark flair to his role on the pitch and uses his speed to regularly run past the opposition.
This season, Joe Boateng has two assists to his name. He is an integral member of the Kotoku Royals defence, and has a fondness for tackles.
Emmanuel Adu Siaw- Samartex
Solid in the tackle, quite good aerially considering his small stature and always a willing option on the outside, Siaw offers much in an attacking sense. His mixture of pace and dribbling prowess somewhat underrated, the left-back remains important to the Annor Walker led team.
As far as being an attacking threat, there isn’t a player featured on this list who is a better crosser of the ball than Siaw. His ability to whip over crosses with both direction and pace is unmatched within this group, while he also is a constant threat down the flank and is reliable in possession.
Defensively, Siaw is more than solid: positionally sound, quick across the ground and tenacious in the tackle. It’s not often he’s neither given the run-around by an opposing wideman nor found out of position.
Bright Enchil – Aduana Stars
The 26-year-old has long been an impressive physical specimen, capable of both dominating opponents and powering up and down the left flank to help out both on offence and defence. He has become somewhat more nuanced in his defending, knowing precisely the moments when he can afford to bomb forward and when he must stay home and close ranks alongside the rest of the Aduana defence.
Going forward, Enchil is a strong runner, capable of carrying the ball considerable distances while he also has a decent ability in the final third to pick a cross or to find a clever pass but it is defensively where he increasingly continues to thrive.
Enchil’s tough tackling, no-nonsense style in his own last third playing a big part in the excellent defensive game his club have put together in the past months.
Evans Owusu – Bibiani Goldstars
Evans Owusu is perhaps the most cavalier and polarising defender listed here. As an attacking tour de force, Owusu is nothing short of outstanding.
He aggressively attacks the left side with gusto, always offering an outlet, while his ability on the ball, featuring a wide array of tricks with which to go past people, have made him a hit in the league and one of the first names on Michael Osei’s teamsheet.
More so, intelligence has become a key feature of Owusu’s forward-thinking game, knowing exactly when to hold his position and when to make a lung-bursting 50-yard dash into the final third.
Defensively, Owusu remains an awesome proposition, one that all managers would love to have in their team. Solid and dependable, positionally he is excellent, always the correct distance from his colleagues and his opponent.
He is quick on the cover, merciless in the tackle and capable of standing up to the very best attackers and coming out on top. He has 1 assist in 10 games for the Miners.
Frank Oppong – Berekum Chelsea
He is 28 years old now but is still going strong. He might have lost a yard of pace, but he is full of running and has been in fine form for Bibires this season.
Frank Oppong is full of running and has been in fine form for Chelsea this season. He is a skilful full-back who knows his way around the pitch with the ball at his feet. He is full of running and spends most of his time either trying to pin the opposition back or running into open spaces in the opposite half.
He is very useful on the counter, where the excellent Chelsea midfielders easily spot his cunning runs and Frank Oppong almost always makes the opposition pay.
He is not found wanting defensively too. He is proficient at blocking, intercepting opposition passes and winning the ball back. He is good with his interceptions and likes initiating attacks by sending long balls to his forwards. He is extremely talented on the ball and likes to dribble his way up the field.
Francis Acquah- Bechem United
Acquah is a fearsome presence down Bechem United’ left hand side, bustling up and down the wing, making crunching tackles and showing great positional awareness.
His pace is outrageous and often means he can push high up the pitch and cause nightmares for opposition defences. His wand of a left foot is also a major attacking weapon for the Hunters.
The 22-year-old is distinctly talented and his skill set, which includes astute off-the-ball movement, supreme athleticism and an infectious tenacity, appears tailor-made for Kassim Mingle’s high-octane system at Bechem United.
He’s a sound technician who can play in tight spaces, while he’s also adept at playing over longer distances. The former Bekwai Youth Academy FC star can split defensive lines with his passes and bypass opponents with his dribbling.
Overall, Acquah’s a fine left back and one of the best that Ghana’s elite division has to offer.