Former Juventus star Stephan Appiah speaks on compatriots Kwadwo Asamoah and Richmond Boakye-Yiadom who have signed for the Biaconneri.
The ex-Ghana captain also speaks on the recent progress of African football in an exclusive interview with TuttoJuve.
Stephen Appiah, a former Ghana and Juventus player. How do you take the Juventus signing of Kwadwo Asamoah and Richmond Boakye-Yiadom?
Very happy. We Ghanaians want to see our players playing in big teams. Juve are one of the strongest in the world and it fills me with pride. I’ll be watching TV and cheer them on.
What is the most popular Italian team in Ghana?
In Ghana there are more players playing for big clubs in Europe but it is clear that some teams have more supporters than others. For example Udinese enjoyed a lot of support because of Asamoah and Inter because of Muntari.
When Muntari moved to Milan there was a lot of support for Milan. But I believe that the arrival of Asamoah and Boakye will bring more support for Juve in Ghana.
Do you think that Asamoah can make an important contribution at Juventus?
Everything depends on the player but I think Asamoah is a humble guy on and off the pitch.
He doesn’t talk much but works hard and always want to learn.This attitude will help him to grow. He will play with big players in Juventus and he will excel.
Did you ever imagine he would get to this level?
I am not surprised because I saw him in the national and also at Udinese and knew his quality. Now that he has joined a greater club like Juventus I hope that he excels.
But now there is a new challenge for him because Juventus is a bigger club and more popular than Udinese.
The pressure there is higher and there is great competition for a position in the team.
Do you have any idea of Boakye?
I have seen him on couple of occasions with Genoa and I must say that I like his personality as a young boy.
He went to Sassuolo and showed everyone what he can do. He has a great future as an up and coming striker.
There will be stiff competition for the striking role at Juventus. Do you think that he should go on loan or stay with Juventus?
It will be fine if a club come for him on loan because at the bottom of it, he will still remain a Juventus player. If he gains more experience and the club deems him ready then he can come back. This will be important if he wants to stay in the club.
You went through a similar route.
Exactly, I was at Parma and I never played. That was a very strong team with a midfield that included people like Almayda, Boghossian, Lamouchi, Micoud and Nakata. I wanted to play at all cost, so I went on loan to Brescia.
I got more playing time there and scored 8 goals which helped me to join Juventus.
In Africa there is a major limitation for young players as they fail to keep up with expectations and Africa is considered to be the future of world football for the next 20 years but this has not materialised. Why?
The main problem is that almost everyone begins to do very well, the media starts to give them a lot of attention; give them a lot of attention and these players get swollen-headed.
As a result, they are no longer able to maintain their humility and keep up with expectations.
And we get to see these young players decline. But now things are changing because we see a lot of African players in big clubs in Europe.
How was your adventure in Serbia?
Very positive. Of course, the championship of Serbia is not like the Italian, English or German, but I felt good with and Vojvodina I made 4 months at large. They have seen all that I am fine and I can give so much more. ”
Plans for the future?
I am considering some offers, but not in Italy. My future is still abroad.