Feature: Why Isaac Mensah Must Step Out Of Cobbina’s Shadow And Be His Own Man Featured
01 Sep

Feature: Why Isaac Mensah Must Step Out Of Cobbina’s Shadow And Be His Own Man

He seemed to be entering footballing middle age without anyone really noticing. It just crept up on him, and me, a little unexpectedly.
 
It is a surprise to reach this point so soon but here we are nevertheless- another sign that game continues to move on at a remorseless pace. Time waits for no man, not even Isaac Mensah.
 
After been promoted to the mainstream Hearts team several years ago from Hearts’ youth team, Auroras, Mensah was touted as the next big thing to happen to Ghana football. 
 
Living under the moniker, ‘Messi’ alone should tell all how gifted and how expectant Ghanaians were but unfortunately, his stock has significantly fallen- in fact he has flattered to deceive much to the dismay of all privy to his immense talent. 
 
He stretches defences and draws fouls; competes gamely and can pull off the odd impressive finish, but nowhere near often enough but he’s stagnated over the last four years, when he could least afford to do so.
 
With the departure of Winful Cobbina to Al- Najran, Mensah became Hearts’ main man and made a clear and noticeable impact when he stepped in for Cobbina.
 
His consistent splendid performances was a great portrayal of his abilities going forward in terms of passing, movement, accuracy, precision and scoring. It didn’t take long for him to become a fan’s favourite at Hearts, with his cool demeanour; spiky personality and, of course, talent on the field showing supporters why he was brought in.
 
With the passage of time, Mensah has found himself in and out of the team, unable to lock down his position. This is sixth season as a professional footballer, and while injury problems and competition for places have occasionally been unkind, it feels as though he hasn’t progressed to the next phase of his career. Circumstances have conspired against him on occasion but he’s stumbled almost unwittingly into his prime years without the mileage to show for it.
 
He’s a young prospect who never graduated to becoming a senior professional.
 
By a quirk of fate, Mensah has been presented with another opportunity to save his dying career after Winful Cobbina left the club to seek greener pastures in Albania. 
 
Isaac Mensah has widely been tipped as the player to step in Cobbina’s absence and become the player he was in the 2015/16 season under the tutelage of Kenichi Yatshuashi.
 
Against Kumasi Asante Kotoko last Sunday, Mensah showed glimpses of his old self and was the club’s brightest player on the day, becoming the player making the telling plays in attacking areas as well as acting in his usual role as a facilitator of these and grabbing all the plaudits even in defeat.
Fundamentally he seems like a nice, well- adjusted young man who’s eager to do well. 
 
These are endearing qualities in a social sense but perhaps not a footballing one. To play at the top and especially for a club like Accra Hearts of Oak, a certain attitude seems to be needed, as well as the necessary talent and commitment.
 
A selfishness; an exaggerated sense of your own importance and an ability to shut out all negative thoughts and doubts.
It could be yet another season in which Mensah shines, and thanks to the perfect combination of his skillset and Hoffman’s style of play, he could emerge as the best player in the side — officially this time.
 
It’s difficult to tell from the Kotoko game alone, but early signs in the club’s recent friendlies suggest that Isaac Mensah will plough on towards another breathtaking moment in his Hearts career this time around as he steps out of Winful Cobbina’s shadow.
 
Those looking to stop them will require their star players to match the quality Mensah delivers for his side on a weekly basis, and this is no easy task.
 
By: Godfred Budu Yeboah
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