Where are they now? Tony Yeboah: The patriotic businessman
For many a school boy in the 1990s, scoring a ‘Yeboah’ was the stuff of dreams.
Blasting a shot from outside of the penalty area, onto the underside of the crossbar and into the net not only looked good, replicated the actions of one of the great cult figures of the decade.
Leeds icon Tony spent two years gracing the Premier League, netting 32 times in that spell, before moving on to Hamburg.
During that time in Yorkshire, Yeboah is remembered for doing things like this…
Since retiring in 2004, the 49-year-old has returned to his native Africa, and specifically, in recent years, his birthplace of Ghana.
In 2010 he created Yegoala FC in an attempt to rise through the ranks of the Ghanaian footballing pyramid.
Things started off well for the club, with sponsors coming on board, and the high-profile owner no doubt attracting interest.
However, throughout 2012 things started to go downhill for the club. Results weren’t going their way, and they found themselves relegated from the country’s second tier.
But for the man in charge, it wasn’t as simple as bad performances that were to blame.
He accused officials of asking for bribes for favourable decisions, and when Yeboah and Co. refused, took it out on them on the pitch.
“I thought they were joking, but true to their word they ganged up against my team, and eventually we were relegated,” he said.
Frustrated with the apparent corruption in his nation’s footballing officiating, he sold up in 2014, handing the club over to local publisher Joseph Albert Quarm, to instead focus on another of his interests in the west African state.
The Yegoala name was present again, but this time it was hotels that his attention turned to, with properties in capital Accra and the city of Kumasi proving the flag-ship locations.
According the hotel’s website the property is “perfect for business and relaxation”, and has “facilities that you will expect of any high class establishment anywhere in the world”.
But while he’s been keeping it squeaky clean of late, a scandal did smite Yeboah’s name in the past decade.
While he has been busy setting up various businesses in recent years, it is an account from fellow Premier League cult striker Peter Ndlovu, that paints Yeboah in a different light.
The story revolves around a get-together after the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations encounter between Ndlovu’s Zimbabwe and Ghana.
The former Coventry striker told of how Yeboah had been on the end of a series of jokes about his country’s defeat in the match, mostly from Zimbabwe head coach Charles Mhlauri.
Ndlovu spoke of how “Tony was taking it quite gracefully but, as a proud Ghanaian, I could sense his patience was wearing thin”.
The drinks continued to flow long into the night, and it was only when the players bundled into the coaches room in the morning as a prank, was Yeboah’s revenge revealed.
Mhlauri’s wife, instead of being tucked up in bed with her husband, was ‘enjoying the company’ of the former Leeds man.
When confronted by his host, Yeboah replied with his simple philosophy:
“When a man insults my country, I insult him, by taking his woman”.
Perhaps not a mantra for us all to live by.
Back in the present though, and the ex-striker is seemingly enjoying running Yegoala Hotel, and in three months time will return to his spiritual home of Elland Road.
For £55 and up, fans can enjoy a four course dinner, with the possibility of a meet and great with the man himself, in an Evening with Tony Yeboah.
He once claimed his good form at the club was down to his love of Yorkshire pudding, so of course the batter delights will be on offer as well as tales of years gone by and words of wisdom from former hitman.
It should be a cracking evening, just don’t insult Ghana if you are bringing your wife…
— MJK Sports Events (@mjksportsevents) August 11, 2015
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