Where are they now? 6 young Ghana Premier League players who never lived up to their lofty potential
Along with massive hype comes a massive pressure and while some footballers embrace the attention, others simply fade away into mediocrity.
Ghanaian football has welcomed a lot of great talent in recent years-- from the Dauda Mohammed's and Tawriq Jibril and to Asiedu Attobrah. It's always great to see young talent breaking through as they add extra excitement to every game when they are on the pitch.
However, for every Asamoah Gyan and Michael Essien, there is a host of talented players who fail to reach their potential. Some still go on to have a decent career, like Mohammed Polo, Ibrahim Sunday but they don't end up as the world beaters we expected them to. Others completely fall off the radar and end up in lower leagues.
Currently, there are a lot of former Ghanaian wonderkids still playing, but not at the level we expected them to reach.
In view of this, PrimeNewsGhana's Duah Michael takes a look at the Ghana Premier League young players that failed to glitter after the massive hype.
1. Torric Jibrin
Billed as the ‘next Polo’, Torric’s talent saw him start training with Anokye Stars, a Colts club in Kumasi- Ghana’s second largest city from the age of ten, where he would hone his skills and first learn what it’s like to play in a team.
Once a national treasure, his career now seemed trapped deep in the bowels of an echo chamber, with every one of Torric’s efforts reverberating with the same infuriating, futile result.
Abanga joined Hearts of Oak in a protracted transfer saga in 2008 from Aduana Stars the then division one side in Dormaa. At the tender age of 18, the midfielder had Ghana football at his feet. But he chose to kick it away.Despite a promising start at the capital based-club, however, Abanga soon fell down the pecking order and was eventually released in 2015. After months of failing to find a club, Abanga joined Elmina Sharks in 2017 after two years without a club.
At 26, Aaron Amoah should be entering his peak years as a professional footballer. Instead, the once-promising youngster lives a life away from football following an explosive fall from grace.
As a teenager, Amoah burst on to the local scene in 2008-2009 with a string of phenomenal displays for Tudu Mighty Jets FC in the Division One League. Amoah was one of the revelations of the GLO Premier League 2010-2011 at age 17.
The start of his career was impressive as he was an important member of the national U17 team that failed to qualify for the CAN U-17 which was played in Algeria in March / April 2009.
Amoah, in 2009 was named GLO Premier League discovery of the year. A major achievement for such a young player, only 16 years of age when he received the award before joining Ghana Premier League side, New Edubiase United United.
Now 26, Amoah currently is without a club after Ethiopian side, Jimma Aba Jifar after finally gave up on him. He still has time to forge a decent career, but it looks unlikely that he'll reach the atmospheric heights he seemed destined for.
4. Kennedy Ashia
Hot property after the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, Kennedy Ashia did not take Ghanaian football by storm as many thought he would following a loan move to Norwegian side SK Brann from Liberty Professionals.
Ashia was just 17 when he broke into the Liberty Professionals first team and so impressive were his initial performances in the professional ranks that that earned him a call up to the Black Satellites team.
After impressive Under 20 World Cup, it appeared that Ashia would live up to his billing as Kwadwo Asamoah's heir, for both club and country. However, despite playing a key role in Ghana's Under-20 side during the qualification rounds for the 2013 African U-20 Championship, Ashia's career went off the rails due to his inconsistency.
The 25-year-old has had stints with Sudan's Al Hilal Omdurman, Ethiopian outfit Sidama Bunna, Lebanese side AC Tripoli and currently plays for Iraqi Kurdistan Division 1 League side Darbandikhan Sports Club.
5. Asiedu Attobrah
A player who best represents the perils of when expectations are set too high is Asiedu Attobrah.
A true box-to-box midfielder with the ability to pick any pass on the field or break open a counter-attack with his athleticism, it was easy to see why he was valued so highly on the local scene.
The pinnacle of his professional career thus far came in his first senior appearance for New Edubiase United in 2009, as he put up superlative performances for the team, sending the Bekwai Gyamfi into a frenzy - and thus establishing expectations that proved to be much too lofty for the young midfielder.
After a relatively unsuccessful European career in Belgium with Kortrijk in the Pro League, Attobrah returned to Ghana, when he joined AshantiGold in the 2016/2017 season.
In November 2013, he earned a call up to the Black Stars B for the 2013 WAFU Nations Cup as a 19-year boy. He played a key role to help the team to a first-place finish after Ghana beat Senegal by three goals to one. Two years later he was invited to join Ghana U-20 team, Black Satellites for the African Youth Championship in 2015.
Attobrah is still young at only 23 years old, there is still hope he can resurrect his career as he currently plays for Al-Shorta in the Iraqi Premier League.
6. Mark Sekyere
Another young player that did not reach their potential is dynamic Mark Sekyere.
Sekyere was likened to former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfield destroyer Claude Makelele due to his playing style was groomed at Fetteh Feyernoord before moving on a season-long loan to Kotoko in 2007.
While he had moderate success in the beginning of his career, the talent that he showed through the Feyenoord (WAFA) youth ranks never translated to the professional game, especially during his brief stints at Ivorian club Asec Mimosas, who purchased him from Kotoko in 2008 after he had had a superlative season in the Ghana Premier League and the CAF Confederation Cup in 2008 with the Kumasi-based club.
After a relatively successful spell at Kotoko on loan from Feyenoord, he earned a call up to the senior national team, Black Stars in 2009 in an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Angola which he featured.
A decent professional, but ultimately nothing like Claude Makelele after leaving the local scene. It is quite surprising that he was actually rated higher.