Baba Yara who was affectionately called the ‘King of Wingers’ made great strides in Ghanaian football and 50 years on after his death he still remains a household name.
His exciting football career was short-lived by a road accident he suffered on March 4, 1963, at Kpeve in the Volta Region while his team Real Republicans were returning to Accra after a league clash against Volta Heroes. It affected his spinal cord and remained in a wheelchair until his death.
Yara was born in Techiman on 12th October 1936 in Techiman in the Bono East Region of Ghana and his real name was Usmanu Seidu Maada.
He played for Asante Kotoko, Real Republicans and the Black Stars and was voted Ghana footballer of the year twice.
Baba Yara played actively from 1955 to 1963. He was part of the Asante Kotoko team that won the maiden FA Cup in 1957 and the club’s first ever league title in 1958. The winger again won the league with Republicans in the 1962-63 season.
Journalists, teammates and sports fans who watched him play have described the ‘King of Wingers’ as the greatest Ghanaian player of all-time and some even believe he was a better player than the legendary Lionel Messi.
Kumasi Sports Stadium was named after him on the April 12th of 2005 in his honour.
Saddick Adams, head of sports of Atinka FM has chronicled a nice documentary which contains excerpts of Baba Yara’s prowess on the field.