Baba Yara, a winger, was a legend of Ghana’s football. Yara started his sporting career as a horse jockey player between 1950 and 1955; he was a youngster at the turf at the time. After this, Asante Kotoko signed him in 1955, where he rose to one of the best the country had at the time.
Same year, 1955, Yara made his debut in a Black Stars match with Nigeria. In that game, Ghana beat Nigeria with 7 goals to nil. Yara scored 2 goals and assisted in scoring 4 others. He was also a member of the 1961 Black Stars team that won 51 caps for the team with 49 goals. As a winger, that was a lot of goals to score hence he was nicknamed, ‘King of Wingers’. He played for the country from 1955 to 1963. During the period, he won the highest football accolade of Ghana; Footballer of the year, twice. This was because of his superb goal scoring skills even as a winger.
On March 4, 1963, Baba Yara was involved in a motor accident at Kpeve in the Volta Region when he and his team mates were returning to Accra after playing a league match with the Volta Heroes at Kpando. Yara sustained a spinal injury which prematurely ended his football career at the age of 26. He was flown to the United Kingdom for treatment at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital but came back confined to a wheel chair.
After being bedridden for about 6 years, Baba Yara died at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital on the 5th of May 1969.He was 33 years. He was born on the 12th of October, 1936 in the Ashanti Region.
In appreciation of his immense contribution to Ghana’s football, the Kumasi Sports Stadium, with a sitting capacity of over 60,000; the biggest stadium in the country was named after ‘King Winger’ Baba Yara
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