Former Ghana star Abubakar dies at the age of 36

Yakubu Abubakar receives instructions from former Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic during the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations
Abubakar takes instructions from former Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations

Former Ghana international Yakubu Abubakar has died at the age of 36.

The former Black Star, a defensive midfielder, died in a hospital in the southern Ghanaian city Tema on Tuesday.

"We're sad to hear the death of former Ghana, Ajax and Vitesse midfielder Abubakar," tweeted Ghana's FA. "Our thoughts are with his family. May his soul RIP."

No reason has been given for the death of Abubakar, who won 16 caps for Ghana between 2002 and 2006.

Abubakar started every game as the Black Stars exited in the group stage of the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations and played in the qualifiers as Ghana reached their first World Cup - also in 2006.

However, he was overlooked for the final squad for the tournament in Germany.

At club level, Abubakar - who could also play in defence - left Ghana at the age of 17 to join former European champions Ajax Amsterdam.

He won two league championships, in 2002 and 2004, as well as the 2002 Dutch Cup.

In the 2002-03 season, he played five times in the European Champions League as Ajax reached the quarter-finals before bowing out against eventual winners Milan.

After 89 appearances for Ajax, Abubakar joined another Dutch side, Vitesse Arnhem, in 2004, staying with the club for five years.

Abubakar played for Ghana at every level, having represented his nation at Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 level as well.

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