Feature: Arsenal's Frimpong - latest hit by the Curse Of Ghana

Published on: 24 August 2010

By: Neal Collins

Ghana. Sheez. How unlucky can you get? After reaching the quarterfinals of the World Cup without crocked Chelsea star Michael Essien and with Sulley Muntari causing havoc in the camp, some irksome Uruguayan uses a hand to prevent the Black Stars from claiming their rightful place as Africa’s first global semifinalists.

Ah, how Africa wept that fateful night at Soccer City on July 2 when Luis Suarez produced football’s second Hand of God, enabling his side to progress on penalties. What might have been, eh?

But that’s history now. An 18-year-old Emmanuel Yaw Frimpong represents the future, but he too has been hit by the curse of the Black Stars.

With a name that sounds curiously like a video game for Xbox addicts if you say it quickly, Frimpong is the new Ghanaian on the block—on Arsenal’s north London block, that is.

Arsene Wenger swooped for the lad from Accra when he was just 11. Just as he did with Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, and Nicolas Anelka, the shrewd Frenchman was in and talking to the parents before the locals realised what they had on their hands. He signed at the turn of the millennium and has rarely looked back.

Frimpong has been talked about for some time by Arsenal aficionados, but few outside the Gooner blogs have heard of the midfielder who started all three of Arsenal’s preseason friendlies next to the young English phenomenon Jack Wilshere, also 18.

The official Arsenal website suggests the lad is “built like a welterweight boxer,” and his prowess in the tackle makes him one of those “Makelele” midfielders who can win the ball as well as working magic in possession.

Frimpong might have been promoted even more quickly but for a hamstring injury which disrupted his progress last season. He laments, "Last season was difficult, it was the hamstring injury that just wouldn’t go away. It was quite frustrating, especially as I went into this season hoping to make progress in the reserves and beyond."

But for a torn cruciate suffered in training with the reserves in Dublin this month, he’d be the one wearing the No. 41 shirt this season. As Wenger said before injury struck, "It’s great to have two young players from our youth system playing so well in preseason. We are all happy. Frimpong is a bit less of a dribbler than Wilshere, but he's a fighter and a winner."

While Mario Balotelli, Inter Milan’s young Ghanaian who has just moved to Manchester City, shrugs off his heritage to play for Italy, and Jerome Boateng chooses to play for Germany, Frimpong has resisted the lure of England. And he did if before the Three Lions’ appalling World Cup performance cast a pall over the game in the land where football was invented.

Frimpong played for England’s Under 16 and Under 18s, but insisted in February, "I have always said that, no matter what, I will always play for Ghana because at the end of the day, from what I believe, I am a Ghanaian.

"England has done a lot for me and my family but at the end of the day I can't see myself playing for England because I am not English—I am from Ghana."

Wenger is mystified by Fabio Capello’s failure to test Frimpong’s unexpected pledge of allegiance. Never one to worry about nationality, Wenger growls, "Here you have a boy who can choose between England and Ghana. So if I was in your place, I would have no hesitation and invite him to play very quickly for England."

But Capello’s silence is deafening. Now something of a lame duck England coach after their World Cup farce, the Italian has missed the boat once more. Next time Ghana appear on the international stage, expect a rehabilitated Frimpong to feature in the Essien role. Prominently.

Comments

  • Lorins
    says: 9 years ago
    Essien is a good player but not a good Ghanaian.
  • Brontortor!!!
    says: 9 years ago
    you see, when i see comments like that of Lorins', i get upset because i just think that when you make a comment like that you're failing to be objective and reasonable. let me explain... today everyone is saying Essien is not patriotic, because he has asked for a break. was it not these same people shouting and screaming that Ghana doesn't need Essien anymore because we have KP? now, anyone of you who dares to say Essien is not a good Ghanaian or unpatriotic, if you were recovering from an illness or accident that threatened your career, would you risk getting wounded again just to play for Ghana? Essien is not 100% fit. you could see it in his recent game at Chelsea when he had to be pulled off. back from back-to-back injuries which prevented him from playing for his club warrants him to at least take a year off international football. i believe the objective way to look at this is that if Essien is not fully fit and well to play for Chelsea, he's useless to Ghana. if the boy doesn't make first team in Chelsea, what can he do for Ghana? If he lost his place in the first time, all you ignorant people out there will be the first to say he should be dropped from the Ghana squad. is that not what you all said about Appiah? so in my opinion, Essien has done the smartest thing for himself and for Ghana. he has to concentrate on getting better, getting back to the strong, unperturbed and intrepid tackler we know him to be. have you also stopped to think that maybe he also wants to take a rest from the Black Stars so all those loud mouth people who made a cacophony of a mess of his name when the scandal about his father came out? these boys are human, they have hearts and emotions. they're flesh and blood like we all are. many of us will not go to work if we have a small headache, but you want Essien to turn up and play for Ghana at all time, and God forbid that he decide to take a small break, he will be labeled as unpatriotic. what have you done for Ghana lately? if Essien doesn't play another single game for Ghana for the rest of his life, he'd still be one of the best things that happened to Ghana football. be objective!!!
  • Rashid Muntari
    says: 9 years ago
    Like your The way You say that Brontortor .. Essien did all he can for Ghana if he need a break Let him do that.. Ghana have a lot of players and anyone of the can represent for Ghana..
  • d-rock
    says: 9 years ago
    Brontortor....you've said it all ... it is sometimes a pity to know i am from a part of the World where most of the people are hypocrites and ungrateful ... we all saw what Ghanaians did to Muntari in South Africa just because they think Dede is grown enough to wear the boots of Muntari .... same way everybody started saying we dont need essien anymore cos we have K.P Boateng...that even Opeele said Agyemang Badu is better that Essien ...O.M.G... picture urself in the shoes of Essien or assume he is ur brother... for good two seasons he has not been himself...starting one of the season and not ending the other ... and all the injuries were obtained while playing for Ghana ...so what so bad has he done if he says he wants to be excused for a while to be fully fit and help his club who helped him when he was injured..i just thought this was a good news as it would help other young guys to a higher level ... fu.ck any one who disses ESS....
  • Lorins
    says: 9 years ago
    BRONTORTOR: Do you know why all black countries are poor? Have you ever thought about that? Think big guy! and I mean T-H-I-N-K. If think but can not find out why,please let me know and I'll inform you.
  • Ralph,Nashville
    says: 9 years ago
    Arsene Wenger is the one instigating the nationality switch for Frimpong...he is showing his french charater;is it any wonder the french team is dominated by people who look anything but french?shame on you Arsene.You truly well where he was born and where he is from..H-A-P-P-Y...shame!
  • Swissa
    says: 9 years ago
    Ghanasuckahnet. Why don't we ameliorate the quality of our journalists. Please learn to write sensible and informative articles instead of feeding us old news.
  • Brontortor!!!
    says: 9 years ago
    Lorins, please help me out by telling me exactly what you want me to think about. you made a statement and i have given my argument. i thought about my argument before i gave it, so that shows that i'm thinking. you on the other hand, i can't say so much for you. so why don't you help me out and share what's on your mind, if there's really anything on your mind.
  • kk
    says: 9 years ago
    Lorins is a moron. Essien has played at all levels for Ghana just like Appiah. As a midfielder, he has scored more goals for Ghana that some of our so-called strikers. He flew in to camp to play his first match in 2010 with the Stars in the African Cup of Nations. He got injured on the training pitch. After the injury, he was in the stadium and when he did not celebrate Dede's goal, fools like Lorins said he was unpatriotic. Michael is the most humble, descent and hardworking African player.
  • Lorins
    says: 9 years ago
    Sycophants!
  • Ceefas
    says: 9 years ago
    Essien has every right to play or not to play for Ghana. But the problem I am having about the argument that he and others are making, that, he is taking a break from international duties in order to gain his form or recover, does not make much sense. It suggest that he cannot recover or regain his form by playing for Ghana. Rather he will come back to his old self by playing for Chelsea. I find it hard to believe that this argument is valid. Because one can get injured anywhere, so far as you are playing. The only way for one to prevent injury is to stop playing football, period. The guy is playing serious competitive football every week, and you call that a break????? I guess I do not know what a break means.
  • Just Ice
    says: 9 years ago
    Lorins you are right and i uttely agree with you,he is a good player but not a good Ghanaian,i wish Ghanaian will be as smart as you re.God bless Ghana.
  • Lampard Zakari
    says: 9 years ago
    Ghanaian are like the English or England fans.whenever one of their player does something to help his career then they start booing them.like Muntari and Essien.and in England like Ashley Cole gave away a back pass which turned into a goal then they start booing him.we should always try to remember the good and positive side of them and what they have done for Ghana.not the negative one.shame on u who turn out insulting the players.and anyway can you so called Lorins play football?????????if u can why don't u go and play for Ghana??????????????shame on u
  • Brontortor!!!
    says: 9 years ago
    Ceefas, I understand your point, but there are a few things you have to consider in football. To gain full fitness and sharpness, what they call "match fitness" you have to play consistently, week in week out and continue to train after you have been out for some months. At the same time, if you are returning from injury, you have to start slowly to make sure you don't overwork yourself and strain your injured body. So in this case, Essien has to play matches every week to gain his full form, but he can't play in every competition otherwise he risks straining his knee. At this point he is not 100% ready, and he needs to get there before the Champions League starts, and before the Carling and FA cups start. Now if you add international duty on top of that, wouldn't you agree that that's a bit much for a recovering player? a player who has been out that long must start slowly. he can't jump into playing 4 cups and international duty right off the bat. anyway, we've talked about Essien this whole time. Let's pray for Frimpong to get well. the article is actually about him.