TALENT SPOTTER- Michelle Sarpong: Meet Hearts’ Dribbling Magician Likened To Maradona Featured
04 Feb

TALENT SPOTTER- Michelle Sarpong: Meet Hearts’ Dribbling Magician Likened To Maradona

Every time Auroras stepped on the pitch last season, their immense pool of talent was clear to see. Although eyes were mainly focused on the players and events on the field, more than a few were distracted by the presence of the then 18-year-old in the middle of Auroras’ midfield.

The crowds are always astonished and overwhelmed with bewildered wonder at his talent and kept asking why such a precocious talent was still with Auroras and not Hearts of Oak.

With the arrival of Kim Grant as the manager of Hearts of Oak, he, among other things sought to give the youngsters at Auroras the opportunity to exhibit their prowess.

The young lads grabbed the opportunity and never disappointed and had the likes of Manaf Umar, Enock Addo and James Sewornu being promoted to the senior team, Hearts of Oak by Grant.

However, it was the promotion of one player that gladdened the hearts of all privy to his talent. The player in question is Michelle Sarpong. He played his first match for the Phobians in a friendly against Sky FC at Daboase.

He was on the pitch for just twenty minutes but that was enough to showcase his immense talent. His sublime skills, passing and dribbles stole the attention and won the hearts of the many fans who had gathered to watch the game.

Chalk on his boots, pace to burn, step-overs galore, back heels aplenty, Cruyff turns and rollovers are all part of the artillery stored in his locker.

“I am not surprised to hear people talk about my talent even though I was on the pitch for some few minutes.” He told kickgh.com.

“I have always loved to play for the senior team (Hearts). I could not mess up when the opportunity presented itself.” He gushed.

“It’s already wonderful to play for Hearts, now wearing this great jersey is just a fantastic feeling and it fills me with pride,” he continued

“Great players have worn this jersey in the past so I hope to honour it. I think every player has to improve and believe there are no limits.”

Born in Kusi in the Eastern part of Ghana, Sarpong’s talent saw him training with Aboasa FC from the age of six, where he would hone his skills and first learn what it’s like to play in a team.

A few years later as Sarpong chased a bigger club; he was signed up by Down Street FC with whom he had a brief spell before having a trial with Auroras and eventually getting the nod from Dauda Lutterodt and signing with the Hearts youth team.

Sarpong was in esteemed company, with the club previously being home to the likes Mohammed Polo- regarded by many to be Ghana’s greatest footballer, Ofei Ansah, Ben Kayode, Ben Adjei, Douglas Tagoe,Tanko Ayuba,Anyetei Sowah, Ezekiel Alamu, Sammy Adjei, Ishmael Addo, Francis Bossman, Laud Quartey, Malik Akowuah,Uriah Asante, Abel Manomey and many other club and national legends.

Now 19, Michelle Sarpong plays a play-making role and occasionally a free-attacking role. He is comfortable attacking on either wing or through the centre of the pitch.

He is a joy to watch when in possession and when he decides to dribble past players. It's not rare to see him go past two or three of them in just one of his runs.

With his magnetic left foot, he has the penchant of faking a pass, faking a shot, faking a direction in movement before he bursts away and leaves his markers chasing shadows. His team-mates and fans alike find it amusing. His opponents, however, don’t find it amusing.

“I am able to play on either side of the wing but I am very comfortable when I am assigned to a free-attacking role. When I am allowed to dictate the pace of the game. It brings out the best in me.” He quipped

Wherever he plays this season, he will undoubtedly create opportunities for the Phobians whether be it from his pinpoint crossing and tricky dribbling or his superb vision and passing.

Growing up, Sarpong naturally looked to Diego Maradona as his idol but also spoke highly of Hearts and Ghana legend, Mohammed Polo.

“I really like him (Maradona) and watch a lot of his video montages on the internet but a lot of people who have watched me play and are privy to Mohammed Polo’s call me the “New Polo” because they say my style of play is reminiscent of his and it’s my prayer to emulate all what both achieved in their respective footballing careers,” the 19-year-old enthused.

In Sarpong, you have the trouble-free nature and ability to pick out any pass out on the pitch efficiently and effectively, along with the inch-perfect precision and craft as a dead ball perfectionist.

He is faced with a fight to gain a first team spot, as he is surrounded by stronger and experienced players, but the young prodigy feels that’s mainly down to the strategic nous of Kim Grant.

“He’s a very good coach and I am learning a lot from him,” he said. “I want to keep doing that all season. I learn a lot tactically from him: how to keep shape, how to help the team defensively when we don’t have the ball and how to be hard to beat.”

Like any other footballer, Sarpong dreams of donning the national colours of his motherland within the shortest possible time.

“I wish to play for the senior national team one day starting with the juvenile teams notably, the Black Satellites and the Black Meteors.” He added.

Michelle Sarpong is an incredibly gifted player with plenty of room to develop further. He will surely speed, flee and dribble into the hearts of many football fans everywhere but must first be disciplined and avoid complacency to reach the heights expected of him.

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