Hamza: Former Ghana midfielder opens up on 2006 World Cup disappointment

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The former Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak ace looks back on his days with the Black Stars 

Former Ghana international Hamza Mohammed has rued his ill luck in missing out on the Black Stars’ squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

A regular team member during the qualifiers, the midfielder, who played for Ghana at senior, U23, U20 and U17 level, was among the major casualties when then Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic unveiled his roster for the global showpiece.

The tournament was the Black Stars’ first appearance at the World Cup.

“I played in all the national teams from the U17 to the senior national team, until we qualified to the World Cup,” Hamza told TV3.

“It is only one match that I missed against South Africa in Kumasi, aside from that [game], I featured in all the qualifying matches.

“During those qualifiers, we had so many opportunities [to join clubs abroad] but the aim was that when we get to the World Cup, we will get a better offer. But unfortunately, some of us could not make it to the World Cup for reasons best known to the authorities.

“I believe if I took that opportunity that came our way [to become] foreign-based player, I would have made it to the World Cup. That is my only regret, but life always moves on.”

Grouped against eventual champions Italy, the Czech Republic and the United States of America for the World Cup, Ghana performed beyond expectations as they finished second behind Italy to make a historic qualification of the Round of 16.

The Black Stars opened the tournament with a 2-0 defeat to Italy but bounced back with a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic, courtesy of goals from Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari, before beating the US 2-1 in the last group game to seal their qualification.

The journey, however, came to an end in the next round as they came up against defending champions Brazil, who comfortably walked away with a 3-0 victory.

Hamza featured for the Black Stars at the 2000 and 2006 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.

The 40-year-old is also remembered for his days in the Ghana Premier League with Asante Kotoko, Hearts of Oak, King Faisal Babes and Real Tamale United. 

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