Writer Andrew Davidson unveils a rising star from Ghana who will take the world by storm in Brazil 2014.
Breaking on to the European scene in 2008 with Udinese, Kwadwo “Kojo” Asamoah’s star has been rising for a few years now.
However, the players’ performances for club and country since his move to Serie A champions Juventus in 2012 have been better and better, and he has quietly become Ghana’s most important player.
An energetic and indefatigable attacking left-back and sometime (often times) winger for The Old Lady, the 25 year old has moved into a playmaking role for his country.
He has already garnered 59 caps after making his international debut all the way back in 2006, but as his role has developed he has become an essential cog in the midfield, both in steadying the ship and providing attacking thrust.
His advanced role and increasing responsibility have seen him move from reliable defensive work in 3rd and 2nd place finishes at the Africa Cup of Nations (in 2008 and 2010, respectively), to provider and goal scorer in the qualification for Brazil 2014.
Having previously scored 1 goal in his first 46 appearances, he has added 3 in 13 games since last year.
The move to Juventus has certainly helped the player to mature, playing alongside the likes of Gigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo. His confidence has visibly grown, looking assured in possession and never tiring of tracking back.
He has picked up two Supercoppa’s and the Serie A title after just two years in Turin, and at time of writing the Bianconeri are well on the way to retaining the league championship, sitting 11 points clear at the top.
He has also garnered the CAF’s Most Promising African Player award in 2010, and was the winner of the last two Ghana Player of the Year awards.
Ghanaians have every right to be excited about the future of the national team with a player like Asamoah leading the way for its younger stars.
With Michael Essien (injuries permitting), Kevin Prince-Boateng, and top scorer Asamoah Gyan all returning from the South Africa 2010 campaign, the squad is still laden with talent. The younger Ayew brothers are also promising big things, while Udinese’s Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu has become an important player throughout qualifying.
There have been rumours and doubts regarding the Ghana coach, Kwesi Appiah, with reports suggesting the Ghana FA want to bring in a big-name foreigner to assist in his coaching efforts in Brazil. Asamoah, however, is focused on the job ahead.
“When we the players help the coach that is also when the coach will get confidence to do his job,” he recently told the BBC.
Ghana were the neutrals’ favourites in South Africa, crashing out in heart-breaking fashion to Uruguay in the quarter-finals. This time around they face the unenviable task of taking on much-touted Germany and the world’s best player (at least in the past year) Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, Portugal struggled in qualifying for the tournament, and Ghana will fancy their chances against the group’s fourth team, the USA.