16 January 2013

Ghana: Kwadwo Asamoah

Photo: Chris Ricco/Backpagepix
Mubarak Wakaso of Ghana scores from a penalty against Mali, giving the Black Stars a routine assignment in their next match against Niger in their quest for a quarter-final place.

At 24, Kwadwo Asamoah has emerged as one of the key players of Juventus Turin, after years of growth in Udinese, and will lead Ghana to the 2013 Orange AFCON behind the striker Asamoah Gyan.

The absence of Andre Ayew, Ghana's star at the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup has propelled Kwadwo Asamoah to the limelight. But Asamoah has everything to enable him succeed. He is already indispensible at Juventus, where he has not missed a single league match before his absence for the AFCON. He took such a place in coach Conte's squad in four months that the "Bianconeri" now speak of his replacement during the African Nations Cup (Paolo De Ceglie) as a "vice-Asamoah," as Paul Pogba may be called a "vice-Pirlo."

The "Black Star" played as a holding midfielder during four seasons at Udinese (2008-2012), but he now plays left mid-side in the Italian champions 3-5-2 team. "When I arrived at Juventus, it was not easy because I was used to playing as midfielder, the player said. Now I play on the left side, forward as well as backward. The secret to our success? Training. We train enormously at Juve, and this has helped me to adapt to the best. "

The Juventus stadium already has a song in his honour, another sign that the Ghanaian is perfectly integrated."It is certain that playing at Juventus is different from playing in Udinese, he said. There is a lot of pressure and media attention and you are always in the spotlight . And so I must constantly improve myself. "

Accra suburb in Turin

Asamoah is not a specialist on one against one, but he is an unusual athlete who punishes the rival on his wing like Stephane Lichtsteiner, his right out mate at Juventus. In Ghana, he is one of the bosses, and is ready to play his fourth AFCON at 24 years. However, things weren't so easy for him when he arrived in Europe at 19 years, in the small Swiss club Bellinzona. He came from Liberty Professionnals of Dansoman, a club from the Ghanaian capital, Accra. This is the club that formed him and which has seen the rise of stars like Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari another "Italian" (AC Milan), who just returned from injury and wasn't called for the AFCON in South Africa.

Coming to play at N0 10, Asamoah, played a little in Switzerland. He was loaned to Torino where he didn't feature in the first team. But he caught the attention of Udinese scouts that had already polished Asamoah Gyan, who was Ghana's top scorer at the 2010 World Cup. Now that he has made a name in the long list of the Asamoahs, Kwadwo dreams of lifting Ghana's fifth African Cup of Nations, which the Black Stars have been chasing since 1982.

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