Ex-Prem star bossing return aged 37 after three-year football hiatus

Former Portsmouth and Sunderland star Sulley Muntari is enjoying a career swansong in his native Ghana – three years after he last kicked a ball.

Muntari, who is now 37, never officially announced his retirement but appeared to have hung up his boots after leaving Spanish side Albacete in 2019. But retire he did not, and in February, he confirmed his return to competitive football with the wonderfully named Hearts of Oak in the Ghanaian Premier League.

Despite his advancing years, Muntari still possesses plenty of the same qualities that saw him earn big moves to Inter and AC Milan in the late 2000s and early 2010s. He has made six appearances so far for his new club, including an important cameo against rivals Asante Kotoko in the President's Cup final.

Muntari's presence helped the Phobians lift the trophy for the fifth time in their history – and it's not the only accolade he's received since his return from the wilderness. The former Portsmouth man also won the man of the match award for his performance against Obuasi Ashantigold on Sunday.

According to a report from ghanaweb, Muntari 'dazzled' in the middle of the park and made several pinpoint passes that wowed the fans. The veteran star was back to his best as Hearts of Oak swept their opponents aside 2-1 thanks to a brace from Daniel Afriyie Barnieh.

Hearts of Oak have plenty of work to do if they want to win their 22nd Ghanaian Premier League title. The Accra-based side are sixth in the table, 13 points adrift of runaway leaders Asante Kotoko.

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If they can overcome that significant gap and win the league for the second year in a row, it would give Muntari a 13th career honour. The ex-Udinese man won his first trophy with Portsmouth in 2008 as Harry Redknapp's side lifted the FA Cup.

He swelled his trophy cabinet even more following a switch to Inter Milan in 2008. During his time at the San Siro, Muntari won two Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia trophies, a pair of Supercoppa Italiana medals, and, most impressively of all, the 2009-10 Champions League.

On the international stage, Muntari won 84 caps for Ghana and was part of the side that was so cruelly denied by Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup. It's been eight years since his last call-up, but his good form for Hearts of Oak has seen some fans wonder whether he could earn a shock recall in the near future.

Speaking after the win over Obuasi Ashantigold, Muntari left the door open to a recall. However, Ghana caretaker boss Otto Addo chose not to include the star in his 27-man squad for the World Cup play-off against Nigeria.

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