Feature: Ghana’s Albert Adomah & the World Cup’s Non-League Connections

Published on: 04 June 2014
Feature: Ghana’s Albert Adomah & the World Cup’s Non-League Connections
Albert Adomah

Ghana’s squad for this World Cup might be one of the youngest at the tournament but it still features some illustrious names from Europe’s top leagues.

In Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari they possess two Champions League winners with nearly 140 caps between them, while Kevin-Prince Boateng, André Ayew and Kwadwo Asamoah have been recent regulars in the competition.

Yet alongside stars such as these, there are a couple of players who started their careers in England’s non-league.

Albert Adomah currently plays for Middlesbrough but he started out at another ‘Boro, five divisions lower, in the Isthmian Premier with Harrow Borough FC.

Adomah used to have kickabouts with his local street wardens when he was a teenager and they encouraged him to play for a Sunday team. This lead to trials at Harrow Borough, in North West London, who Adomah signed for while he continued to take a painting and decorating course at a local college.

After two full seasons at Harrow, impressing scouts with his pace and crossing, Adomah made the move to League football in January 2008, signing for Barnet. Lots of clubs continued to show an interest but he moved on to Bristol City in 2010. Adomah holds a Ghanaian passport and after two seasons at Ashton Gate, he received an International call-up.

With Bristol City set for relegation from the Championship, Adomah transferred to Middlesbrough for £1 million last summer. His first season was impressive; he was their top scorer last campaign and he’s become popular figure among fans who voted him to 2ndplace in the Player of the Year Awards after captain George Friend. He has a knack for giving humorous interviews and made a lot of friends on the last day of the season as he danced on the pitch with Yeovil Town’s cheerleaders.

However, Adomah’s popularity at club level hasn’t been replicated at an international one. While Ghana fans are familiar with the likes of Essien and Boateng from watching them in the Premier League or in Europe, Adomah’s progress in the Championship has probably been harder to track. He is more of an unknown quantity, and while he was accepted as part of the 30, there was genuine surprise and annoyance that Adomah had made the 23, especially after his poor performance in the recent friendly against Holland. There is speculation that coach Kwesi Appiah chose Adomah for personal rather than professional reasons.  Even if this is the case, there is something to be said for having an obedient player on board and Adomah certainly seems like a likeable man too.

Ghana’s non-league connections don’t stop at Adomah. The Right to Dream academy was founded in Ghana in 2000 to give African children born into poverty the chance to realise their sporting potential. A few years ago, the academy launched a partnership with the University of the West of England’s Hartpury College and began to send graduates there on scholarships. Hartpury is a sports specialist university and it was seen as a good environment for this group of young Ghanaian prodigies to continue their development in England. Naturally, they wanted to play competitivefootball alongside the course but issues with their student visas meant they would not be able to register with any clubs in the Football League. Therefore, they started playing for local non-league sides.

Abdul Warris, one of just three strikers named in Ghana’s 23, played for Forest Green’s reserves during his time at Hartbury. He scored 36 goals in 21 games while at the College and has just spent the season on loan at Valenciennes from Spartak Moscow.

Majeed Waris
Majeed Waris
One of Waris’ teammate at Hartbury was David Accam, who made the provisional squad for this World Cup. Accam now leads the line for Helsinborg in Sweden, but scored his first competitive goal for Ledbury Town against Dudley Town in front of 86 people.

He is a little less refined than Waris and has less experience at the top level, but expect to hear his name again in the future.

In the tradition of Stuart Pearce, John Barnes and Chris Waddle, England will also have some non-league representation at the World Cup.

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling began his career in the Isthmian Premier at Maidstone United, where he made a name for himself as a talented young centre-back.

He was also selected to play for England Schoolboys whilst at Maidstone, alerting a number of League clubs. After a move to Middlesbrough fell through due to Smalling’s concerns of homesickness, he signed for Fulham in June 2008.

Second-choice goalkeeper Ben Foster started at Racing Club Warwick, in the Southern League Division One West, before joining Stoke City.

While he was there, he had loan spells at Tiverton Town and Stafford Rangers, in order to further his development.

Thus, Smalling and Foster’s first experiences of football were very different to the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley all of whom began at Premier League clubs and were thrust into first team action after some brief run outs in the reserves and loan moves to big clubs like Bolton and Leeds.

It is worth thinking about these players and the often unspoken-of world below the 92 during the tournament. Seven years ago Adomah and Smalling were playing in the seventh tier and in 2014 they find themselves on the way to the World Cup.

Adomah in particular embodies the “meteoric rise”, from non-league to League 2 and then the Championship.

He may even get another chance to wear the number 10, as he did in last year’s Africa Cup of Nations, made famous by Ghana’s greatest ever player Abedi Pele.

Adomah’s story is a reminder that somewhere out there, there are a handful of non-league footballers who will play in 2018, 2022 and beyond.

Source: thefalsenine.co.uk



  • Benny
    says: 5 years ago
    GSN this is an interesting bussiness ploy.We should leave Adomah to chill.May be this World Cup experience will kick start something great in the future.There is connection with AA,no doubt but who cares. His brother Richie is over the moon and rightly so.Lets live Adomah alone.He did play well against holland ,so was all the players.AA tactics was flawed
  • Benny
    says: 5 years ago
    Meant to say he did not play well against holland and so was all the players.AA's tactics was flawed.
  • PeeWee
    says: 5 years ago
    For a guy who was born and raised abroad, Adomah really impresses me with his obedience, and patriotism compared to some of these rags to riches players who wanna be worshipped. The joy on his face as the national anthem was played during the Holland game showed how proud he was to be wearing the Ghana shirt; unlike some who just wanna ride on the back of the nation to fame. He may not be the player of your choice, but its always good to have players on the bench who have the desire to die for the team.
  • Ghanaman
    says: 5 years ago
    I have notice they dont pass the ball to his side when he plays. This chap adoma is good and fast. The players in the team are scared for him to shine. Jealousy amongst us ghanaians. Good luck adoma in brasilia
  • Asem
    says: 5 years ago
    Watching the Holland match without stress! you notice that the Team GH was playing all attacking ,all defending!That's why the wingers and the full backs were not noticed cos the midfielders didn't use them often and Adoma was doing more defending than attacking! l hope the midfielders would desist from playing their gutter to gutter and make use of the full backs and wingers!
  • Assemblyman
    says: 5 years ago
    I don't see Adomah in Blackstars long term future once AA is gone someday.Let him enjoy his kingship ride for with his jittery performances.Maybe this World Cup is going to be his first and last one.He surely in his old age tell his once upon a time experience story to grand children in his sleeping chair in front of the furnace someday.Lets leave him for now.The future nearest future will tell after Brazil
  • Anokwale
    says: 5 years ago
    Your point is a good one. We need players who are enthused about wearing the Black Stars jersey. At the end of the day, Adomah is not starting anyway. If he gets an opportunity, we know he is going to give 110%.
  • Chu
    says: 5 years ago
    nice article love it but truth be told, Adomah was simply a flop in the game. whilst we are jabbing Appiah for poor fortitude, i think most of the players in advanced positions retained possession a bit ok because they read the dutch defence and tried to retain possesion. but it was not the same with Albert. He refused to read and kept his monotonous english style of run and cross. Adomah simply has been so ordinary since waering that shirt
  • Flava
    says: 5 years ago
    This adomah brudda should have just went crystal palace when he had his chance. Would have smashed the prem. the ghana team is a joke! They dont like man them born in the uk. Look what they ve done to schlupp. Hope he has a stablemind when he plays for his club again. Come on man. How can you drop man like schlupp and take old men to the world cup. Just finish reading an article out ghana having the youngest team in brazil. Hahaha essien is 38 gyan us 32 muntari is abt 36. Only young players i can vouch for are ayew brothers kwarasey adomah schlupp johnathan mensah. The rest they all old. Lol my dads friend who supported wigan fc knew kingston lol
  • Pablo
    says: 5 years ago
    This gentle butterfly offers himself in a bright yellow sacrifice! Adomah is just a waste of space, he got no creativity! NOTHING!! I can do better than him at least. I don't see what AA see's in him that we can see.