John Mensah

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John Mensah
John Mensah with Ghana in 2008
Personal information
Full name John Mensah[1]
Date of birth (1982-11-29) 29 November 1982 (age 41)
Place of birth Obuasi, Ashanti, Ghana
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Position(s) Centre back
Youth career
1997–1999 MBC Accra
1999–2000 Bologna
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2002 Bellinzona 34 (1)
2001–2002Genoa (loan) 24 (3)
2002–2006 Chievo 22 (0)
2004Modena (loan) 6 (0)
2005–2006Cremonese (loan) 14 (0)
2006–2008 Rennes 60 (2)
2008–2012 Lyon 13 (0)
2009–2011Sunderland (loan) 34 (1)
2012–2013 Rennes 4 (0)
2013 Asante Kotoko 0 (0)
2014 Nitra 5 (0)
2016 AFC Eskilstuna 0 (0)
Total 217 (7)
National team
2001–2012 Ghana 86 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

John Mensah (born November 29, 1982) is a former Ghanaian professional footballer who last played as a defender for AFC United in the Swedish second-tier. Regarded as one of the best African defenders in football, Ghanaians loved to call John "The Rock of Gibraltar" because of his immense strength and his incredible man-marking abilities. A center-half by choice, he is also adept at right-back and has played in both positions for his national side, also captaining the team on occasions.

Club career[change | change source]

In the summer of 1999 he moved from MBC Accra to Bologna and joined the youth teams, in January 2000 he was loaned to Bellinzona to gain experience in the Swiss cadet series.

He moved to Genoa for the 2001-2002 Serie B season, under the management of Riccardo Sogliano and under the guidance of Franco Scoglio, collecting 24 appearances and 3 goals. At the end of the season, the then president of Genoa Luigi Dalla Costa did not exercise the right of redemption and the player moved to ChievoVerona of president Luca Campedelli who bought him permanently.

In his first season in Serie A, he took the field on a few occasions; the same fate also in the following season and then in January he was loaned to Modena until the end of the championship: here he found little space taking the field 6 times.

In the first two seasons, he made 13 appearances. And, during the season, Obuasi's defender went on loan to Modena, a club that in the meantime was in Serie A. Six appearances in six months, then a return to Chievo.

He returned to Chievo Verona for the 2004-2005 season, where he played consistently late in the season, under the guidance of coach Mario Beretta.

In the following season he went back to Serie B in the ranks of Cremonese; after the relegation of his team, he moved to French football purchased by Rennes.

In the summer of 2008 he moved to Olympique Lyonnais, and then moved to the Premier League the following year in the ranks of Sunderland. At the end of the season he returned to Lyon but the two clubs agreed on a new annual loan for the sum of €500,000 with an option to buy, mandatory after 25 appearances, of €5.5 million.

On 2 July 2012, he terminated his contract with Lyon until June 2013. On 14 September, he joined West Ham on a trial run alongside Mikaël Silvestre and Anthony Vanden Borre. Although at first, unlike Silvestre and Vanden Borre, the Hammers seemed intent on signing him, on 22 September 2012 manager Sam Allardyce declared that he had decided not to sign him.

In 2012 he returned to his homeland where he signed a contract with Ghanaian side Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club, but on 2 January 2013 he was re-signed on a six-month contract by Rennes. In 2013-2014 he had a parenthesis in his homeland and one in Slovakia, at Nitra. After a period of inactivity, Mensah signed in March 2016 with AFC United, a team in the second Swedish league.

International career[change | change source]

In 2001, John Mensah was selected to participate in the World Junior Championships (U20) with his country. Ghana reached the final by eliminating Brazil (with a goal from John Mensah), but lost to Argentina. Several elements of this generation played, such as Mensah, who went on to play for the national team, such as Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien. He made his debut for the Black Stars senior in December 2001 against Algeria.

Also with the Ghanaian youth team, he participated in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

This same Ghanaian generation qualified the country for the first World Cup in its history and travelled to Germany in June 2006 under Serbian coach Ratomir Dujkovic. Ghana came out on top of the competition in the round of 16, eliminated by Brazil.

In 2008, he took part in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) held in Ghana. His team lost in the semi-finals to Cameroon and eventually finished third in the competition thanks to a final victory over Côte d'Ivoire in the small final (4-2). In 2010, he flew with the Ghana national team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Ghana made it to the quarter-finals but lost on penalties to Uruguay, while Mensah's shot was saved. Mensah scored his first goal ever for Ghana against Sudan in 2011, In December 2011, Mensah was named to the Ghana's squad for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, which was co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.[2] In a match against Botswana on 24 January 2012, he scored his first goal of the tournament, but was sent–off in the 66th minute, in a 1–0 win.[3] After serving a one match suspension, he didn't return until on 5 February 2012 when Mensah scored his second goal of the tournament, in a 2–1 win against Tunisia.[4] He went on to play three times in tournament, as Ghana finished fourth place following a 2–0 defeat to Mali.[5] Despite this, Mensah was included in the Confederation of African Football All-Stars team for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.[6] It was not until on 15 August 2012 when he made his last Ghana appearance and played 45 minutes, in a 1–1 draw against China.[7]

Following this, Mensah never played for the national team again despite calls from peers to convince Ghana to call him up.[8] Throughout his international career at Ghana, Mensah has been a regular for the national team, playing almost every match since, rising in the rank of importance to become the assistant-captain and captain of the national team,[9] earning 86 cap and scoring three times.[10]

International goals[change | change source]

Goal # Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 8 October 2011 Al-Hilal Stadium, Khartoum, Sudan  Sudan 2–0 Win 2012 CAF Qualifying
2 24 January 2012 Stade de Franceville, Franceville, Gabon  Botswana 1–0 Win 2012 Africa Cup of Nations
3 5 February 2012 Stade de Franceville, Franceville, Gabon  Tunisia 2–1 Win 2012 Africa Cup of Nations
Correct as of 9 March 2017[11]

Honours[change | change source]

Ghana U20



References[change | change source]

  1. Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream Publishing. p. 285. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0.
  2. Mensah, Kent (15 December 2011). "Ghana announce 25-man squad for 2012 Africa Cup of Nations". Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  3. "Nations Cup: Ghana start with 1–0 victory over Botswana". BBC Sport. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  4. "Ghana 2-1 Tunisia (AET)". BBC Sport. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  5. "Mali's Cheick Diabaté scores twice to sink 10-man Ghana". The Guardian. 12 February 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  6. "JOHN MENSAH MAKES CAF ALL-STARS TEAM". Ghana Football Association. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  7. "GHANA, CHINA SHARE THE SPOILS AFTER 1–1 DRAW". Ghana Football Association. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  8. "World Cup 2014: Ghana must recall John Mensah - Kuffour". BBC Sport. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
    "Mensah eyes Brazil World Cup place". BBC Sport. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
    "Big names left out of Ghana squad for Cup of Nations". BBC Sport. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  9. Association, Ghana Football. "John Mensah remains captain - Appiah". Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  10. Gyamera-Antwi, Evans (2 November 2017). "John Mensah denies retirement reports |". Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  11. "John Mensah – International Appearances". RSSSF.
  12. "Ghana v Egypt - African Nations Cup". ESPN. 31 January 2010. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.
  13. "26th Africa Cup of Nations Ghana 2008". CAF. 9 February 2008. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008.
  14. "TOPHÉE SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE : JOHN MENSAH ÉLU MEILLEUR JOUEUR" (in French). Stade Rennais FC. 13 October 2006. Archived from the original on 13 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  15. "JOHN MENSAH RÉCOMPENSÉ" (in French). Stade Rennais FC. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  16. "Orange CAN 2012 Best XI". 12 February 2012. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012.

Other websites[change | change source]