By Ameenu Shardow
Ghanaian midfielder Isaac Shaze tells all about his life, career and future prospects with both club and national team.
The 23-year-old has just earned another consecutive promotion for now Swedish second tier club Oestersunds FK.
A member of the first generation of the now renowned Right to Dream Academy, the Sports degree holder reveals it all in an extensive interview with GHANAsoccernet.com while on holidays in Ghana.
Please introduce yourself for people who don’t know you
I am called Isaac Shaze but people know me as ‘Taale’. I was born in Accra, Nima and I grew up there all my life. I went to Flag Staff House Basic School and then after that I joined a club called Inter Milan - they used to play at the Kaokudi Park. I was one of the first generation to form the Right to Dream Academy. I later joined Okwahu United in 2006 but played just a half season before I had a scholarship to go and study in England.
What did you study in England?
I first studied B-Tech in college and then I moved to the University where I did a foundation degree in sports performance which includes psychology, physiology, nutrition and drugs. I got my college certificate and my degree and I also have a level 1 coaching in England and I am looking forward to doing my level 2. So it’s been something that though I am a footballer, I got at the back of mind I know when I am done with football I can do something with my life.
Why weren’t you able to play football in England?
You know in England they are very strict with the work permit and I was unable to secure one so I couldn’t play. So I was restricted to playing for my college where I played against teams like Reading, Bristol City. In 2008-09 reading coach Steve Coppell wanted to sign me but he couldn’t because I didn’t have a work permit.
After your schooling in England, how did you make your way back to active club football?
The college I attended in England had one of the best teams and they had a link with some Blue Square League clubs. A team; Forest Green signed me after getting some sort of authorization. But just when I was about to play my first game, I went to the dressing room and I couldn’t find my shirt. I was then told the FA has decided to block my registration otherwise it will open an opportunity for clubs to sign players through the schools without permits. So it was a difficult period for me, I went to IK Start in Norway but things didn’t work out so I had to return to the school and kept working hard.
So how then did you find your way to Sweden?
My coach at the school had a friend who got a job in Sweden so he recommended me. So they invited me for trials at Oestersunds and I impressed so they signed me. When I joined them they were in the fourth tier and instantly we won the league and then got promoted again. So now we are in the second tier.
How do you compare the level of quality of football in Sweden to that of England?
People say football is from England and all that, that is well and good but I have played all my football in England. And in Sweden it is all about technique. Even the bad team in Sweden don’t just play the ball, they put the ball on the ground. I think this style suits me a lot and will improve me even more.
So what are your personal targets for next season?
Well, my target for next season is to score more because this season I scored four goals in 18 games. I had problems with injury but I know I have got goals in me, so next season I just want to be fit and help my club win another promotion.
Will you relish a move away from your current club?
At the moment, I can’t comment because I have a running contract with my club. So it is purely going to be a club to club affair. I am only concentrating on helping the team.
You are yet to play for any of the national teams, is it something you hope to achieve?
Yes, it is the dream of every player to play for his country, the chance has just not come. I think I am a sort of player who only needs a chance so when it comes I believe I am ready to grab it.
You are welcome.