My dad, who is the principal and pastor, didn't want me to play football. I had to hide to train. But I was born to play. I got a talent from God - tells us Yaw Yeboah, a new player of Wisła Kraków.
The Ghanaian was brought to Europe by Manchester City.
Yaw Yeboah was 17 years old when he was noticed by The Citizens. An invitation to the British Isles was like a dream for a teenager from Ghana . - I was very young then and I thought it was all a joke, a bluff. I wasn't playing for any professional club then. I was a player at Right to Dream academy that worked with Manchester City. - says WP SportoweFakty a footballer who charmed the fans of the White Star in his debut.
- When representatives of the English club came to Ghana to watch a few matches, they saw me and said: "This boy is good, we like it." I was offered a move to Manchester. I couldn't believe my ears. But it was really happening. Everything was taken care of within a few weeks. I flew to Manchester - he recalls.
He didn't have to wait long for his first training with Man City's first team. - I could learn a lot from players like Yaya Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor . For me it was all like a dream come true. At first, I was very nervous when I had to train and play with stars such as Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure - he admits, adding: - But they cheered me up. They said, "Dribble, it doesn't matter that you will lose. Don't be afraid to take the ball, you will make mistakes, but you are here to learn." It gave me confidence. With each training session, I felt more and more comfortable there.
Departures from Toure, dinner with Kompany
He remembered this lesson for his whole life. This is why today he is not afraid to take risks in one-on-one situations: - Dribbling is, in my opinion, one of my greatest strengths. I feel best with the ball at my feet. In Manchester, I tried to learn ball control from David Silva by trying to copy his plays. I saw that since dribbling is my forte, I have to work on it in particular.
The best players in the world play for Manchester City, but the young Yeboah could count on almost all of them to help. - Especially Silva or Vincent Kompany , who often explained to us why we should train hard. The first and second teams eat there in the same place. Sometimes I spent time with the first team players outside of the classroom, not only on the pitch. Mostly with Yaya Toure, but sometimes we also went to dinner with Kompany.
And she adds: - I am proud that I managed to achieve something like this and these experiences have shaped me as I am today. I was young, I flew there with no previous experience of living in Europe. Everything was new to me, different - food, culture, not just football. But I knew that was what I wanted to do in my life - play football. Even though it was difficult, I had to take the risk.
He remembers the period when Manuel Pellegriniwas the manager of The Citizens best : - When he was at the club, I had the opportunity to train with the first team more often. He gave young people a lot of opportunities and trust. Other first team coaches supported the young. They encouraged hard work to win a beautiful future.
The club took care not only of football development, but also of their youth education. - Apart from training, we studied normally. When my friends and colleagues from Ghana came to Manchester, we didn't speak much English, so first of all we had to learn it. But we were also following the normal curriculum, says Yeboah.
He could not give up his studies also because his father placed great emphasis on her. - My dad was the principal of a school in Ghana and he preferred me to study rather than play football. He wasn't happy that I was training, he admits. - The more so because he was afraid that I would get injured, like my older brother did before. He had to go through an operation. After that, my dad decided that it was better for no one in the family to devote himself to football, because we cannot afford to heal further injuries - he adds.
Young Yaw had to really hide his football passion from his own dad. However, there is no regret about it. - In a way I understood him, but in the end I think I was born. in order to play football. Dad was able to hold me back for a while but he couldn't cut me off from football forever. That is why I was looking for moments to get away with my friends to play football in such places that he would not see me and not know me - he reveals.
Everything changed when it turned out that football could be more than a hobby for him: - When I started to be successful at the school club and then got elected to the Right to Dream Academy, where I was provided with food and school, my dad changed his mind and enjoyed with my development. Later, thanks to the academy's collaboration with Manchester, I flew to the Islands.
Soon his father turned into his greatest fan. - I was called up for the Ghana U-20 national team and was even named MVP of the African U-20 championship. My dad was happy with my success then. Everyone was talking about me and the family gained great respect in our town. It changed a lot in relation to my career - he recalls
Tour around Europe
Why, however, despite his considerable talent, did he not make his way to the Man City first team? Many factors influenced it, but Yeboah points out one more thing: - I had a problem getting a work permit in the UK. However, I tried to put it all in my head and not worry about showing my best side on loans. In Manchester, they said I was one of the best players on loan.
He first ended up in French Lille . It was there that he saw his potential to play on the wing. - At one time, back in Ghana, I even played as a left-back. It wasn't until Manchester that they changed my position - after I dribbled half the players on the pitch, they said, "He doesn't look like a left-back." Then I played as a "ten". Later, in France, they realized that I had a lot of speed and I was put on the wing where I could win one-on-one matches and make use of that speed - translator.
In France - as elsewhere - people were asked if he was a relative of the former Ghana representative, known from the Bundesliga and Premier League, Anthony Yeboah . "Everywhere I go, people ask me if we're family, but no," she smiles. - I admit, however, that in my youth I watched his matches and followed him a bit - he adds.
After France, it is time for the Eredivisie . In Twente Enschede, the Ghanaian quickly found an understanding with Mateusz Klich . - When I came to the Netherlands, I already had my Ligue 1experience . Thanks to this, I had a really good season in Eredivis. I was doing well and the team was winning. I must also emphasize that we were good friends with Mateusz Klich. He often directed balls to me, he recalls.
His progress on loans was praised even by Pep Guardiola himself : - It gave me a boost of confidence. It gave me the feeling that the people in Manchester were seeing my progress and I had to keep working hard.
It seemed that with his skills it would be a good move to move to Spain. He tried his hand at Real Oviedo , CD Numancia and Celcie Vigo B. Ultimately, however, he decided that at the age of 23 he wanted to pursue a career outside the Iberian Peninsula and chose Poland.