By Jimmy Aidoo
Call him Ghana’s answer to Argentina’s Jose Pekerman and it might not necessarily be a misnomer. Coach Sellas Tetteh, under the auspices of the Ghanaian FA, has over the past few years assembled teams of young, talented Ghanaian footballers who have competed in African and World Youth Championships with a fine blend of pizzazz and class resulting in some notable success stories.
Out of the plethora of stars to have popped out of Selas’ celebratory piggy bank of talents, Clifford Aboagye certainly deserves to be pigeonholed into the same class as the Andre Ayews, Jonathan Mensahs and the Baba Abdul-Rahmans of this world. Clifford Aboagye has worked his way to the top with hard work.
Who is Clifford Aboagye?
Born on Feb 11, 1995 in the Teshie suburb of Accra, Clifford has been a huge fan of football since he was young, attending matches as often as his busy school schedule allowed. From kicking almost anything on the streets of Accra, Cliff started off at non-league side Zinaps FC in Teshi and later Ghana Division 2 side Inter Allies. But it was his brilliant performances at the Eastern regional high school championship that caught the eyes of the national team handlers as he etched his name in their one-to-watch list. A subsequent invitation to the Ghana U20 camp was reward enough.
A rather rude introduction to the 2013 FIFA Youth Championship in Turkey awaited him as the Black Satellites lost their first two games. Unfazed by the atmosphere, he screwed his head on firmly, picked himself up, and a series of solid displays which helped the team win bronze at the end of the tournament. His bravura also earned him the Bronze Ball award as the third most outstanding payer falling behind only to French whiz kid Paul Pogba and Uruguayan prodigy Nicolas Lopez.
Standing at just 1.63m, Aboagye is never going to dominate any midfield play with his thin frame. Blessed with incredibly quick feet, Clifford uses his smartness and technical ability to dictate play from midfield. Good with the ball at his feet, he possess excellent ball control, he loves to take on defenders and also has this uncanny ability to ghost into positions often leaving opponents unaware of where the next coldblooded pass is going to come from. Like his idol Andres Iniesta, Aboagye time and again executes a lethal range of passes that either cuts open the opponent’s defense, with the clairvoyance a younger Iniesta would surely envy, or intelligently keep possession. However, a protracted gym time will do him a wealth of good since he appears to have some work to do on his physique.
The Expert View
After a near pluperfect competition in Turkey, there was a sense of accomplishment from the technical team of the Black satellites as their midfield ‘maestro’ who was in the heart of virtually every exciting moment the team had enjoyed was vote one of the best three players of the competition by the team of experts and football journos who covered the tournament.
“Clifford Aboagye is an agile-attacking midfielder and a playmaker with a good dribbling skills and excellent technique.
“I think he would go on to become one of the most important players of the Ghana National team in the near future,” Jean-Paul Brigger, the Director of the technical team said as part of his technical and statistical report of the competition.
How far he blossoms with the national team would largely depend on his success at club level. If he can keep his head afloat, one would definitely not bet against a rather short love affair with Granada CF and a place in one of Europe’s stellar sides the most probable prospect.
It is quite an open secret Ghana’s lack of creativity in the middle of the park has become something of a perennial problem since Kevin-Prince Boateng’s hiatus and ultimate expulsion from the team. If the long slaloming run, waltzing through four tall Malian defenders before planting the ball at the back of the net to register Ghana’s third goal against Mali in the third-and-fourth playoff at the 2015 AYC is anything to go by, then Clifford Aboagye may well prove to be the anodyne that has for some time now eluded the Black Stars.