Exclusive: Q&A with Ghanaian Swiss U17 World Cup winner Ntiamoah-Nimeley
By Ameenu Shardow GHANAsoccernet.com was privileged to have an extensive interview with 2009 Swiss U17 World Cup winner, Kofi Ntiamoah Nimeley. The 19-year-old who currently plays in the youth team of Swiss giants FC Basel has decided to play his international football for Ghana. The left-footed utility player is currently in Ghana on brief holidays due to the winter break in Switzerland. And GHANAsoccernet.com got a rare chance to meet the player who is termed the ‘Offei Dodoo reborn’ derived from his uncle and former footballer Offei Dodoo and the rest of his family. Who is Kofi Ntiamoah Nimeley? Well, my name you already know. I was born in Ghana, grew up in Abeka and later moved to Dome Pillar 2. I am the single child of my parents but have a lot of cousins and they are like my brothers and sisters. I was first at Minspar before I went to primary school at Achimota then I left at age six to go live with my dad in Switzerland. Why upon all the professions in the world, you chose football? I am from a football background so through a lot of influences from my uncles and my parents I decided to go into football.
So how did you start playing in Switzerland? When I got to Switzerland, I got the opportunity through friends and the encouragement of my father and aunties I tried it out and it worked. At which point in your life did you realize football was the thing for you? I think when I turned 14-15, that is when I really noticed football can be my actual profession. I signed my first contract with Basel at the age of 16 and from there on I knew it was strictly business and no more child’s play. Because I realized expectations were high and I need to deliver. Ghana didn’t make it to the U17 Championships in 2009, but we realized there was a Ghanaian in there with the Swiss team, how did that come about? I had several trials and I made it to the last 40 players and during the trials I scored a wonderful goal and made two assists so the coaches were so impressed they had to pick me for the Swiss U17 team. So why is it that you were so impressive for the Swiss junior side, on the threshold into the senior teams, they already know you and your quality but yet still you want to play for Ghana? I was born in Ghana, I grew up in Ghana. I had always maintained that I wanted to play for my nation. It is the dream of every player to play for his country and I am no different. It is never the same when you play for a foreign country than it is playing for your actual country of birth, so that is very clear. I have absolutely no doubts about that, not even when I was with the Swiss U17 side, only if the opportunity is given, I will take it.
Ok, I am sure you are aware Ghana has qualified to the African U20 championships, where you qualify to play, are you relishing a call to join the team? I know one or two players from the team, they are very good players who have a lot of quality. But I also believe in my ability and quality and therefore hoping for a chance to show myself to Ghanaians. Personally, as a player, what are your targets? I want to play football to the highest level, both at club and international level. There are so many targets for a footballer, but in the interim I want to break into Basel’s first team and from there onwards, the sky will be the limit. When are you expecting to break into Basel’s first team? I am looking at next summer, so by next season, I should be playing regular top flight football. Tell me more about Basel, how is the kid from Africa faring there? I’ve had some friends who have been with me since I arrived in Switzerland, I also have my family there to support me, I also don’t make too much new friend so I think I am pretty much covered in that regard.
Every young player is looking to play for the elite clubs in Europe, which of the teams are your preferred future choice? Yes, that is very true. I am looking at the Premiership (English), so when an opportunity comes, sure why not I will go there. As a young player, do you also dream of playing in the Black Stars now that you have decided to play for Ghana? I have followed the Black Stars keenly and have realized that most of the players in the current team came from the U20 side that won the World Cup in 2009. This shows that a lot of opportunities are given to young players if you are that good and yes, it is my dream and hopefully. The chance will come very soon. So are you expecting to be part of the team that hopefully will be at the next World Cup in Brazil? Yes of course, if Gd permits I will gladly jump at that opportunity. Ghana has so many good players, so to compete with them I think will be a massive blessing. Thank You very much for your time with us and also want to thank you family for the warm reception You are always welcome.