World Cup-bound Samuel Inkoom speaks to Africanfootball.com on the prospects of playing in Brazil with the Black Stars for a second successive campaign.
The right-back also speaks about his successful loan spell in Greece and was influential in Platanias’ survival.
Inkoom is expected to leave Ukrainian side FC Dnipro who own his registration and economic rights.
AF: Are you done with your time at FC Platanias?
SI: I went there for six months and now we’ve finished the league and I am on holidays now. I am happy I went there; they are like a family and are one of the best clubs I have played for. They are a good club. I am not done with them, I still have a contract with them until June and we’ll see thereafter.
AF: What is the situation like with FC Dnipro, your parent club.
SI: For now I am with Platanias. Like I said my contract with them [Platanias] has not ended so I can’t say for sure if I will go back to Dnipro. After June, I can say concretely whether I am going back to Dnipro or elsewhere.
AF: The general assertion is you must leave Dnipro. What do you say to that?
SI: Everybody is saying I should leave Dnipro but my problem with the club is with the coach. We had a misunderstanding. He warned me not to come [for Ghana U23 game] and I came because I love my country. I have learnt a lot from it but I became happy with myself again when I went to Platanias. Now I have four strong teams who are interested in me but I leave everything to God.
AF: What will be the main consideration when you finally decide on whether to stay or leave Dnipro?
SI: My agent is doing a lot of work now. This is his territory and he is speaking to the clubs. He knows what I want and therefore I will leave everything to him to work on. I cannot say anything much about it now because at the right time everyone will know whether Inkoom is staying or going somewhere.
AF: All things being equal, you will be playing in your second World Cup, how much are you looking forward to that?
SI: Every player wants to achieve something in my life. I had a misunderstanding with my coach [at Dnipro] which was the root of all my problems. The club paid 10 million dollars for me. If I wasn’t that good I am sure they wouldn’t have paid that money. But this is the game of football andthe World Cup will give players that exposure for everyone to see that you are not a bad player.
AF: Did you feel at any point in your most turbulent time at Dnipro to throw in the towel?
SI: I didn’t even think about that because I believe in football anything can happen. I am also young, I am 24 – going to 25 in June so I have more time ahead. I believed I had to train harder because maybe it was not my time and that another time can be mine. So I kept believing and praying to God to take me through.
AF: Do you still have the ambition of returning to the more popular leagues in Europe?
SI: Yes. Now But I will not speak about it much because my agent is working on these things. I am looking for one of the best teams that everything will be fine with me as a player. Playing in the Champions League, I want to come back. I used to watch my game against AS Roma [while at Basel] and the goal I scored and it makes me very happy. So if I get one of those big clubs, why not, I will be very happy to make Ghanaians proud again.
AF: Everybody is saying Ghana must get at least to the semi final stage of the World Cup. Is this target realistic?
SI: We have done it before. When we went to Germany, I was not there, I was young at the time so was watching on TV. The likes of Stephen Appiah and the other senior players. And then it came to my time in 2010 in South Africa. I was there and I experienced it. Now in Brazil we have a better team. The likes of Asamoah Gyan, [Sulley] Muntari, Michael Essien, Agyemang Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah and the rest. I only pray that we remain as united as ever because without unity we cannot achieve anything. And we the young ones like myself, Daniel Opare, Mubarak Wakaso and Christian Atsu and the rest will also help the experienced ones. If we are all looking for one goal, and if I am in the squad we will all go there with the aim of making Ghanaians proud and happy.
AF: How does it make you feel as a right back when people say it is our weakest link in the team?
SI: They are the ones saying it. There are a lot of people watching and they all have their opinions. This is football but for me when someone says I am not playing well, like they say in Twi ‘Wasa’ I will not react because that is hi opinion. It will rather boost me to work even harder to make them happy. You have to respect the fans but I believe everyone has his or her opinion.
AF: Does these criticisms get to you as a person?
SI: No. If I am not doing well, I know myself and I know what to do to improve myself. I am even the first to know whether I am making progress or not. That is football, sometimes you go up and other times you go down. It is not like when some people say you are a waste player you react angrily to go and beat the person or something like that. I know myself very well.
AF: What do you do to improve yourself when you have a bad day?
SI: I watch the game again and identify my mistakes and work on them. Like I said before, I know myself and know when I am going down so I quickly work on improving myself.
AF: Do you think there is an aspect of you game you need to improve?
SI: Now I am happy with myself. I just need to stay focused, train hard and do my thing.
AF: How much of a help has your family been in your career?
SI: My family, seriously, they are my everything. Imagine when I go and have a bad game and everyone is one me, they are the only ones I go home to for encouragement. That is why I always want them by my side wherever I go. I always love it when my family is around to see me play because it will push me to do my best and make them happy.
AF: Will they be in Brazil to support?
SI: If they want to come, I will let them come, no problem.
AF: Thank you
SI: You are welcome.