The full-back positions have undergone a major transformation over the last decade, and one could make a case for a full-backs attacking output now being as important if not more important than their defensive duties these days.
No longer there merely to stop the opposite team’s wingers wreaking havoc, the modern game dictates that now they must be both defensive giants and an attacking force.
As the notion of inverted wingers continues to grow and central areas see a greater number of bodies and become ever tighter, full-backs are being increasingly looked toward to offer an outlet and for width.
Even with all the advances in the modern game, there is still a dearth of good left footed footballers. As such, the role of the modern left-back has been harder to fill now.
A player is supposed to defend, aid his midfielders, press and then lunge forward to join the attack on every opportunity available. To do this for 90 minutes is not an easy task, especially with all the running and tracking involved.
Thankfully, there are still a few good players in the Ghanaian topflight who have championed this position and its nuances.
Nine exciting left-backs in the Ghanaian Premier League from Budu’s Corner:
Raddy Ovouka – Hearts of Oak
The Congolese has been fantastic for the Phobians this term, and is a regular feature in the Hearts setup. He is blessed with speed and is quite good on the ball, which has helped him to become one of the best left-backs in the division this season.
Ovouka is defensively sound and does not dive into tackles on every occasion. He is good with his interceptions and likes initiating attacks by sending long balls to his forwards. He is extremely talented on the ball and likes to dribble his way up the field.
In 17 appearances, he has 2 assists, 1 goal and with two MVP accolade. His performance has ensured that a lot of European and top African clubs are tracking his development.
Lest I forget, he was recently named in Valdo Filho’s Diable Rouges team to play in the AFCON Qualifiers. He is adept at playing as a left-back, left-midfield and as a centre-back. His versatility has been a blessing for the Phobians.
Samuel Arthur – Elmina Sharks
He is 32 years old now but is still going strong. He might have lost a yard of pace, but he is full of running and has been in fine form for Sharks this season. He is a skilful fullback who knows his way around the pitch with the ball at his feet.
He is full of running and spends most of his time either trying to pin the opposition back or running into open spaces in the opposite half. He is very useful on the counter, where the excellent Elmina Sharks midfielders easily spot his cunning runs and Samuel Arthur almost always makes the opposition pay.
He is not found wanting defensively too. He is proficient at blocking, intercepting opposition passes and winning the ball back.
Samuel Arthur’s free-kicks and volleys on that side of the pitch are a thing of real beauty, and there aren’t many who’ll contest his inclusion in this particular list.
Imoro Ibrahim– Asante Kotoko
The Asante Kotoko defender has been stellar for his club this season and is another left-back with an attacking mentality. He has made a name for himself after a string of impressive performances on the field.
He is quite strong in the air as well as composed on the ground and rarely allows players to dribble past him. Like many of the best left-backs in the world, Ibrahim loves to go forward and is actually an excellent passer of the ball.
He likes taking set pieces and is quite good at them too. Once on the ball, he likes to build up play by using short passing. He adds trademark flair to his role on the pitch and uses his speed to regularly run past the opposition.
He is an integral member of the Kotoko defence, and has a fondness for tackles.
Dennis Korsah – Ebusua Dwarfs
Dennis Korsah is perhaps the most cavalier and polarising defender listed here. As an attacking tour de force, the 25-year-old university graduate is nothing short of outstanding.
He aggressively attacks the left side with gusto, always offering an outlet, while his ability on the ball, featuring a wide array of tricks with which to go past people, have made him a hit in the league and one of the first names on the team sheet. It came as no surprise when he was handed an invite to join the Black Stars by Akonnor.
Positionally, he is outstanding and is more than capable of switching from being in a back four to a wing-back role. Rarely does he need to dive into tackles, due to both his speed and anticipation, but when necessary, he does so with assurance and often comes away with the ball in his possession.
Joseph Laweokpo – King Faisal
Intelligence has become a key feature of Laweokpo’s forward-thinking game, knowing exactly when to hold his position and when to make a lung-bursting 50-yard dash into the final third. That has helped him become a mainstay in a listless King Faisal side.
Defensively, Laweokpo remains an awesome proposition, one that all managers would love to have in their team. Solid and dependable, positionally he is excellent, always the correct distance from his colleagues and his opponent.
He is quick on the cover, merciless in the tackle and capable of standing up to the very best attackers and coming out on top. It is hard enough to pronounce his name, let alone dribble past him.
Iddrisu Shaibu – Karela United
Solid in the tackle, quite good aerially considering his small stature and always a willing option on the outside, Shaibu offers much in an attacking sense. His mixture of pace and dribbling prowess somewhat underrated, the left-back remains important to the Evans Adotey led team.
As far as being an attacking threat, there isn’t a player featured on this list who is a better crosser of the ball than Shaibu. His ability to whip over crosses with both direction and pace is unmatched within this group, while he also is a constant threat down the flank and is reliable in possession.
Defensively, he is more than solid: positionally sound, quick across the ground and tenacious in the tackle. It’s not often he’s neither given the run-around by an opposing wideman nor found out of position.
The 20- year- old joined Karela at the start of the campaign and has instantly become a mainstay in the team.
Benjamin Abaidoo– Berekum Chelsea
The Berekum Chelsea powerhouse has long been pointed toward as one of the division’s premier full-backs, but under the stewardship of Seth Hoffman these past few months, his game has reached a whole new level.
The 24-year-old has long been an impressive physical specimen, capable of both dominating opponents and powering up and down the left flank to help out both on offense and defence.
He has become somewhat more nuanced in his defending, knowing precisely the moments when he can afford to bomb forward and when he must stay home and close ranks alongside the rest of the Chelsea defence.
Going forward, Abaidoo is a strong runner, capable of carrying the ball considerable distances while he also has a decent ability in the final third to pick a cross or to find a clever pass but it is defensively where he increasingly continues to thrive.
Abaidoo’s tough tackling, no-nonsense style in his own last third playing a big part in the excellent defensive game his club have put together in the past months.
Perry Addison Rockson – Techiman XI Wonders
Probably the least known on this list, but certainly not the least talented, Perry Addison Rockson has been outstanding for his club this campaign. At just 18, the fullback has earned plaudits for his speed, technical qualities and ability to make a tackle. In other words, he’s all you could ever want in a left-back.
Blessed with lightning pace and lovely close control, Rockson is a real swashbuckling full-back capable of driving deep into opposition territory with the ball at his feet.
Like many young defenders, his positional sense could do with some refinement, but certainly an exciting prospect for the club. Anyone lucky enough to see his performance would have been suitably impressed with the 18-year-old’s obvious talent.
Nathaniel Akwah – Legon Cities
The Legon Cities left- back has been stellar for his club this season and is another modern left back with an attacking mentality. His performances make him one of the best left backs in the league right now.
He is adept at playing left back as he is at left midfield and his versatility has been a blessing for his club. Fortunately, he’s actually a very good defender, too.
He often finds himself in the right place at the right time to repel attacks – and if he isn’t, he can get back into position extremely quickly.