Portsmouth FA Cup hero's surprise playing comeback - after two-and-a-half years away

Pompey FA Cup hero Sulley Muntari has returned to the football pitch – after a two-and-a-half year absence.

Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 12:30 pm

The 37-year-old has signed for Ghana Premier League club Accra Hearts of Oak on a one-year deal.

It represents his first football club since leaving Spanish second-division club Albacete Balompie in the summer of 2019.

Muntari’s career has seen him win the 2010 Champions League with Inter Milan and net 20 times in 84 appearances for Ghana.

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The midfielder also won the 2008 FA Cup with Pompey, claiming the trophy with a 1-0 triumph over Cardiff at Wembley.

It proved to be Muntari’s first and only Fratton Park season, having been recruited from Udinese by Harry Redknapp.

He totalled 33 appearances and five goals during his time on the south coast, forming a formidable central midfield partnership with Lassana Diarra.

That 2007-08 campaign also saw Redknapp’s men finish eighth in the Premier League, signifying their highest league finish for more than half a century.

Sulley Muntari (right) parades the FA Cup with Pompey team-mate John Utaka following their May 2008 Wembley triumph. Picture: Will Caddy

It was a star-studded team which also included Sol Campbell, Sylvain Distin, Niko Kranjcar, David James, Glen Johnson and Kanu.

The performances of Muntari meant Wembley was his farewell Pompey appearance in a competitive match, before earning a switch to Inter Milan in July 2008.

Although he did appear twice in the 2008 pre-season, his last outing being a 4-1 friendly victory at Bournemouth days before his departure for Italy.

Muntari later returned to the Premier League with Sunderland in the second half of the 2010-11 season, making nine appearances during a loan spell.

Sulley Muntari scores past stand-in Manchester United goalkeeper Rio Ferdinand during Pompey's FA Cup win at Old Trafford in 2008. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

By that stage, Pompey were in the Championship, after their seven-season stay in the top flight was ended by relegation the previous campaign.

Muntari would also turn out for AC Milan, Saudi side Ittihad, Pescara, Deportivo La Coruna and Albacete.

Now he has linked up with Accra Hearts of Oak, the reigning champions of the Ghana Premier League.

However, they are presently fifth in the table, 10 points adrift of leader Asante Kotoko.

Muntari also has the distinction of appearing in three World Cups, most recently the 2014 competition in Brazil, and two African Cup of Nations.

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