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Ghana winger Albert Adomah was painting his mother’s house in 2010 but set to make history in Brazil

Published on: 08 June 2014
Albert Adomah

As World Cup fairytales go, Rickie Lambert’s beetroot factory to Brazil story is pretty hard to beat. But Middlesbrough winger Albert Adomah may run him close.

Four years ago, when only Luis Suárez’s hand prevented Ghana from becoming the first African side ever to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in South Africa, Adomah spent the summer painting his mother’s house in west London.

Having completed an NVQ in Decorative Finishing and Industrial Painting at the College of North West London – the same place Stuart Pearce took his City & Guilds Electrical Installation course when it was simply known as Willesden College – it didn’t take him too long.

“I still remembered how to do it all from my apprenticeship,” Adomah recalls, “so I used to go and play football with my friends in the park in the afternoon and then come back to watch the matches at home with my family. It was devastating to see Ghana come so close to making history. Everyone was in tears after the penalty shootout.”

By that stage, he had progressed from playing for amateur club Old Meadonians to being sponsored by BBC commentator John Motson at Barnet, via a spell at non-league Harrow Borough while he completed his apprenticeship.

A tribunal valued his move to Bristol City in the summer at £150,000 and after one season at Ashton Gate, Adomah – who was born in London but lived in Ghana with his grandmother until the age of nine – made his Black Stars debut against Brazil at Craven Cottage and “couldn’t stop grinning” to himself.

Chased by Brendan Rodgers when he was at Swansea City, Middlesbrough eventually prised him from Bristol City last summer for £1m and Adomah finished as top scorer with 12 goals in what was a largely disappointing season for the club. But having missed out on selection for the Africa Cup of Nations at the last minute, confirmation he had been selected for Ghana’s final 23-man squad last week was never taken for granted.

“I was over the moon but I just tried to keep my cool and stay calm,” he says. “When I rang my Dad, he said: ‘Well you don’t have to worry about a Father’s Day present then.’ Hopefully my parents can come and watch us out there because I know they will be very emotional about it all considering everything that’s happened.

“When I was playing for Harrow, I would have to get up at 6am to start work, stand in the cold waiting to get the bus and then rush to training in the evening,” Adomah adds.

“It wasn’t much money but I had to make it last. It’s made me appreciate what I’m doing now a lot more. To be able to do something that I love every day is just amazing.

“Some players start in an academy and think they have made it already as soon as they get in the Under 21s. I think that’s where they go wrong. When I was at Barnet, I’d see players coming in from higher leagues that were already on their way down, even though they were younger than me. I learned how to fight in non-league and playing for Barnet but so many young players just end up dropping out of the league once they leave the academies.”

Still just 26, Adomah’s reward for all that hard work has been to become part of a Ghana squad determined to banish the memories of the defeat to Uruguay under homegrown coach Kwesi Appiah. And a daunting group that includes USA, Germany and Portugal will certainly not faze the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

“We have a lot of talented young players like Chelsea’s Christian Atsu and striker Majeed Waris so there is no reason why we can’t qualify for the next round,” he says.

“A lot of the players have been in this position before and hopefully that experience will really help us. We’ve got some difficult games to get through so it’s important that we start well against the USA.

“Obviously they are going out for revenge having played us at the last two World Cups [Ghana beat USA in both 2006 and 2010] and we will have to be ready for that if we can. I think most people will expect Germany and Portugal to get through the group but we are confident in our own ability at this level after what happened in South Africa.”

With Atsu, Boateng and André Ayew all competing for the wide positions, his own prospects of starting the opening game in Natal on 16 June appear slim, although you can never rule anything out with Adomah.

“The coach likes to be flexible in his attacking options so if I work hard then who knows? But even if I made it onto the pitch for 30 seconds that would be enough for me. So many great players never get the chance to play at a World Cup so I feel privileged just to be here.”



This article has 20 comment(s), give your comment
  • Assemblyman says:
    June 09, 2014 07:54 am
    General Ihaj,you don talk your mind finish abi? Carry on!!
  • navy seal says:
    June 08, 2014 07:45 pm
    Assemblyman so yo wop ukranian witch. Hahaha
  • selfmade says:
    June 09, 2014 03:54 am
  • lhaj says:
    June 09, 2014 03:16 am
    Assemblyman, your input in this forum is blatantly awkward. If you are going to embark on criticizing the coach and the team, please do so in a constructive format that would allow others to learn.
  • Keleele says:
    June 08, 2014 06:09 pm
    Assemblyman, you always sound very negative and pessimistic about the chances of Kwesi Appiah making an impact in Brazil. Give him a break to prove himself then the criticisms can follow if he fails.Is Appiah the only inexperienced coach in the world cup final? Learn to be positive about people. Everyone starts from somewhere. There is a thin line between success and failure.All the successful coaches had to go through some sort of difficulty before breaking through. Don't forget Appiah will be an instant genius if we come out of our group so be moderate in your attacks. God help Ghana.
  • Assemblyman says:
    June 08, 2014 06:39 pm
    Mister man,your coach is very good oo and experienced..I only wished him good luck !!!!
  • dennis says:
    June 08, 2014 04:27 pm
    This is not what we are looking for. Updates us on the friendly match between ghana n korea(time, possible starting line up, injuiries situations in camp etc)
  • Ghanaman says:
    June 08, 2014 04:36 pm
    Motivitional story. A humble english chap.
  • Andy D says:
    June 08, 2014 05:10 pm
    Houston I think you need to see an an eye doctor
  • selfmade says:
    June 09, 2014 03:55 am
    Great stuff!
  • access says:
    June 08, 2014 11:47 pm
    AA and Ghana will surprise you......Ghana will win this world cup......Stop your PHD......
  • Kwabena says:
    June 09, 2014 12:17 am
    Hahahahaha! Albert Adomah's performance in the Holland game reminded me of Prince Tagoe of the 2010 WC. Cannot give pass, cannot control the ball, cannot collect ball, cannot defend and wonderd what the 'f**k' he was doing in that game for the full 90 mins. In that game i never saw Nkoom defending for even once. He never close down opponents, just look on and in that match Holland could have scored three goals in the first half and all the attack came from Nkoom's end whilst he watch on, on all the three attacks.
  • Assemblyman says:
    June 09, 2014 12:52 am
    Yeah! You are right,in your next life ..
  • Assemblyman says:
    June 08, 2014 10:57 pm
    Rabai!Rabai!!Rabai!!how many times did I mention your name ??here,no one likes the truth oo..When you start saying the truth..All that you get are enemies..Most of them crab headed primary school leavers. We saw the magnitude of his coaching in the last CAN in South Africa.Matches against Cape Verde and Burkina exposed him really bad .He couldn't change simple game plan keke! In the end they victimized Derek Boateng as the problem in the team.Which is why we couldn't go further over there at the CAN tournament.He ,Akwasi Appiah got spared.. He just confirmed the doom I was fearing it might happen.By saying Kwadwo Asamoah will play at the left back position in the subsequent matches.So why did he even take Harrison Afful there in the first place ? Doing old Kotoko players a favor in the national team or what?Most players are there as a result of personal favors..Essien doesn't the right requisite to be there.So is Adomah,Inkoom or Fatau.What is the most special thing,these players do to merit their selection.He has a few central defense options there in the team.A central defender got injured,he never called a real back up for him.Than conceding to have dropped him.One comedy I keep laughing about ..Had jerry not gotten injured who was he going to drop in the team?? So did Jerry's injury came as a relief to his headache on who should be dropped in the team?? Common sense,am talking about..where is his head? For his information oo,if he hasn't traveled to Italy to watch the Italian Serie A match where Kwadwo Asamoah played for the Juventus.Chielini plays that left side defense role actually in the team .But Kwadwo Asamoah is a cover up player who actually players the left midfield in their 3-5-2 formation. Instead of him to play his tactics he might deploy at the World Cup.he is telling the world that,if he played the tactics ,everyone will get to know his game plane..Oaleu!! Doamne fereste!!Where in the world can he say this childish thing?? Besides how sure his players might pick up his new tactics and deploy them successfully,if deployed during World Cup matches when not practised against worthy opponent in these trial matches??He shot himself right in the foot.For my money and what I saw in the CHAN games.Maxwell,his assistance is better by far than Akwasi Appiah.Am not sure after him,the GFA will be too keen to give the job to a Ghanaian after lessons learned in Brazil.This time unlike the CAN tournament Nyantakyi wouldn't come to apologize to the Ghanaian mass on his behalf..Because he,Nyantakyi,would also be busy looking for someone else to come to apologize on his behalf.Since he will be on a hot sit over loosing his FA job by then.I wonder if it will be Sani Daara or Fred Pappoe to read the apology letter for Nyantakyi himself .I only can wish Akwasi Appiah good luck on his suicide mission ..When the time comes,his Y3n Ntie Obiaa slogan will rather be Y3 b3 tie Obiaa.. What sort of blockheaded coach is this one !!
  • CAP'N PLANET says:
    June 08, 2014 10:07 pm
  • dr edusei. chicago. usa says:
    June 08, 2014 10:08 pm
    i have been hearing these same incompetent coach for 3 years and he keeps winning. we are in the world cup and has mixture of youth and experienced hungry players. He just keeps moving on. Everybody in the whole world thought egypt will take ghana out . Beware of ghana. very dangerous team . USA started withering when nigeria started attacking and using speed instesd of dribbling. ghana should use their pace and speed and they will be dangerous. the group is wide open.
  • Houston says:
    June 08, 2014 04:45 pm
    I saw the scoreline a few days ago. Ghana 3 - USA 4 It doesn't look good for our stars. Please pray for the black stars!
  • Assemblyman says:
    June 08, 2014 05:09 pm
    How did you see this? I have a Ukrainian mistress living in Napoli,Italy.who is a popular witch with thousands of clients all over Europe.She is good at reading cards to predict soccer matches.I don't even bother to ask her whether Ghana will survive or not in the group stages ..Because it's just logical to predict without magic with such a hasty preparations towards the tournament.One can only wish our inexperienced coach who always experiment with players a good luck..Besides,it's the fall to Nyantakyi's regime..all the best to the players just going to holiday in Brazil.
  • Rabai says:
    June 08, 2014 08:51 pm
    @[email protected] The truth must be told without any fear or favor.Kwasi Appiah is simple incompetent and block headed in coaching. Have u guys seen him varying his tactics in a game?why are people trying to shield this mediocre of a coach. Whiles countries selecting their best players for every position he rather shifting players from their comfort role to experiment them in the highest soccer tournament. I watched USA and Nigeria game played here yesterday and Infact Ghana needs to sit up.All they saying here yesterday was we want Ghana .
  • Assemblyman says:
    June 09, 2014 07:50 am
    You've said your mind..carry go!