20 July 2013

Ghana: Ebenezer Assifuah - Continuing the Trend


The Black Satellites can proudly lay claim to a place of honour as far as the FIFA U-21 World Cup is concern. Aside winning the gold medal in 2009, silver in 1993 and in 2001 and a bronze in the last edition of the championship also in the kitty, they have also won several individual honours at the competition, most significant of which was Dominic Adiyiah's top scorer award in 2009, something another Ghanaian has followed the trend.

The recently concluded FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey was also not a bad outing for Ghana, where Ebenezer Assifuah proved to that he was set for the world stage, with a performance that football fans across the globe will not forget in a hurry.

The 20-year-old scored six goals at the recently concluded FIFA U-20 World Cup joined the league of all time highest goal scorers in the history of the competition after finishing as top scorer, which earned him the adidas Golden Boot award and also helping Ghana to a third-placed finish.

"I'm very happy that I scored my sixth goal in the match for third place against Iraq. It was far from easy to get that many goals over the course of the tournament and I'm very proud of what I achieved," a still-disbelieving Assifuah said.

Achieving this remarkable feat was very daunting for Assifuah, owning Ghana's poor run at the preliminary stages. Suffering a shocking 3-1 defeat in the hands of France and a settling for 1-0 loss against Spain in the second group game. Ghana's chances of qualifying for the next phase became doubtful. But in the last group game; the Black Satellites bounced back securing a 4-1 win against United States of America to qualify for the next round as the fourth best team in the group stage, with Assifuah netting two goals.

At the quarter-final game against Chile; Assifuah put a wonderful play to steal the show scoring in 72nd minute to force the game into extra-time and in the 120th minute mark, he sealed the victory with a bounced header. His 47th minute strike against France however was not enough to secure the final ticket for the Black Satellites.

And in the third place match against Iraq, he increased his goal tally to six with a 45th minute effort. Thereby, topping the scorers' chart, ahead of Portugal's Bruma and Spain's Jese.

Commenting on the team's impressive run at the tournament, Assifuah said: "The tournament itself was wonderful and it was truly a very interesting experience for us. Though, it was a real test for the team and myself. If you look back at our games and performances you will notice it was challenging for us. I feel very happy to have scored many goals which enabled me to win the golden boot and to have finished in third place with the team. It was simply unbelievable." Assifuah played an integral part in the team's successful campaign in Turkey. He gave his best when it mattered most, ensuring that the humiliation Ghana faced at the group stages never repeated itself. He saw every game as the ultimate test he needed to prove himself. He played each game with the required vigour and approach. When the game seemed tough, he never despaired nor threw in the towel.

Rather, he encouraged himself and his teammates to strive for nothing but victory. At the tournament; Assifuah did something strange that left many spectators wondering if this was a special charm for winning, Assifuah was often hopping on his right foot whenever he entered the pitch before the start of any game.

According to him "It's nothing really; I have been doing it since I started playing football. It's a habit I don't want to drop because it's brought me a long way hasn't it? I think it brings me luck."

Born in July 3, 1993 in Accra, as Ebenezer Kofi Assifuah- Inkoom, he started his football career few years ago, when he represented the Western Regional Basic School football team in Takoradi. Thereafter, he joined a second division club known as Proud United where he pursued his youth career. While at Proud United, he showed the signs of a promising player.

The club owner, Jojo Duncan described Assifuah as a player with a special knack for goal-scoring. According to him, "Assifuah is the type of player that would want to score a goal even if he is playing in the streets.

He has this hunger for goals and that is a major reason why I picked him up." He was put under thorough coaching by the club owner in order to hone his skills having seen the wonderful potential in him. In the 2011/2012 league season, he began his professional career playing for Sekondi Eleven Wise FC on loan from Proud United. At Sekondi Eleven Wise, he scored 24 goals in two seasons for the club. With this feat, he attracted offers from top clubs in the Ghana Premier League.

During a friendly between Sekondi Eleven Wise FC and Liberty Professional, Assifuah played exceptionally well and his brilliant display caught the attention of their opponent. Consequently, in the 2011/2012 Glo Premier League season, the 20-year-old signed a three-year contract with a top flight premier league side known as Liberty Professionals. However, it took sometime for him to establish himself in the team.

Then on December 26, last year; he showed his class by scoring four goals in a 5-1 thrashing of top premier league side Berekum Chelsea. The nimble-footed forward as he is popularly called has so far scored six goals for Liberty Professional in 12 competitive games.

The assistant coach of liberty professional Felix Aboagye, who praised the sheer brilliance of the centre forward said: "When Assifuah arrived from Eleven Wise we saw his potential, but he was lacking some minor attacking skills so we needed to work on him tremendously and so far it has reflected in his performance. "At the Africa Youth championship, he was sensational and we are so pleased that the hard work has paid off."

As a result of his industry and unrivalled passion for the game, he earned a call-up into the Ghana Under-20 team and made his debut in July 2012. At the qualifying rounds for the African Youth Champion in Algeria; he played an important part, scoring one of the goals as the Black satellites hammered Uganda 3-0 in one of qualifying matches.

At the CAF U-20 championship in Algeria; Assifuah gave the world a glimpse of what to expect in Turkey with an impressive performance. He finished the tournament scoring three goals and clinched the silver boot behind of Nigerian's Aminu Umar, who scored 4 goals to win the golden boot award. He also made the tournament best eleven.

After a successful campaign in Algeria; the centre forward was linked with a move to a top flight Italian club, Udinese. The Serie A side tabled 300,000 Euros bid for Assifuah.

Just recently, there was a speculation that he is been linked with a move to English league side Arsenal F.C. for an undisclosed fee. Currently, he is still playing for Liberty Professional, pending a move to a top flight club in Europe.

With his superb performance in Turkey, he has earned himself a place in the tournament's Best 11. Still at the budding stage of his career, Assifuah has set an impressive track record, which offers some glimpses of greatness.

Despite playing for a home based club, Assifuah has shown a high level of diligence, industry and commitment to the game. At the big stage, he has proved that he has what it takes to compete with the best in the world, judging from his superstar performance at the World Cup

Copyright © 2013 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.