PRINCE ATO BILSON: Meet WAFA’s Swashbuckling Shot-stopper Likened To De Gea Featured
13 Feb

PRINCE ATO BILSON: Meet WAFA’s Swashbuckling Shot-stopper Likened To De Gea

If you have not heard of Prince Ato Bilson’s name before, don’t fuss – you soon will. He belongs to a new wave of emerging talents from the Ghanaian topflight. He is regarded by many Ghanaian football pundits to be the future of Ghana football and is highly tipped to etch his name in the country’s football folklore.

Since making his 2019/2020 league debut against Accra Great Olympics in Accra, Prince Ato Bilson has quickly established himself as one of Ghana’s hottest prospects, courtesy of some encouraging laced performances for West African Football Academy (WAFA).
Born in Cape Coast, the agile goal custodian cut his teeth with Astronomics, a colts club in his vicinity. He played the game with a bravery and boldness that was rare in goalkeepers of any age or stature, and he quickly grew into one of the hottest prospects in the country.  
A stint with lower tier side Danbort FC in Nungua followed, before a host of impressive performances had numerous Ghanaian clubs chasing after his signature. 
Bilson ultimately settled on WAFA and joined the Sogakope based club at a tender age. “I opted for WAFA at the expense of other premiership clubs because I needed to develop as a footballer and thus needed to align myself with a club that would help me develop.” He told
Bilson admits he couldn’t have wished for a better footballing education than what he has had at the Academy.” I have enjoyed every minute of playing football at the academy; it is great being a kid and doing something that you really love with some of the best footballers from across the country.”
“It is great to be part of it, I’m really grateful to them for giving me the chance to spend my formative years there- to learn football and to learn to be a good person.” He chimed in
The 19-year-old’s major strength is his ability to be in the right position in order to cover a large portion of the goal especially when opposing forwards are bearing down on goal. 
Another strength of his is his distribution. He averages 5.0 successful goal kicks per game and 4.1 throw outs. For a team like Prosper Nartey’s WAFA side, who put emphasis on attractive football, the benefit of having a goalkeeper who can play from the back, cut out individual errors and provide an imposing presence will be invaluable.
 In terms of anticipation, Bilson is one of the best around. He thinks like a striker and tries to anticipate if the opposition forward will dribble or shoot, and how he will shoot: close to the ground, in the air, with power, and in what direction.
His athleticism and reactions are fine tuned to the point of near correction, his shoulders have broadened and his skills at the ball at his feet can rival even the most fleet footed of midfielders and regularly joins attack and pushes forward when his team are in search of a goal. 
His excellence comes in his incredible consistency: minute after minute, game after game, month after month. 
Rarely is he pulled up for individual criticism. Mistakes are rare. Simply, he is a centre-back’s dream; a commanding presence who generally does his job with consummate ease, and who has kept two clean sheets in three games since replacing Ferdinand Sabi Acquah.
The teenager idolises Manchester United and Spain legend David De Gea and hopes to emulate his good works and etch his name in football folklore. “De Gea is my idol. I really want to be like him. A lot of people say my style of play is reminiscent of his and that excites me a lot. I know getting to his level won’t be an easy feat but I am determined to do my little and much to ensure that my efforts get recognised globally.”
Prince Ato Bilson harbours hopes of making it into Ghana’s National U-20 soon; such are the quality of his performances this season.
“I hope that I can slide into the National U-20 (Black Satellites) soon,” “It would be a dream if I represent my country in the juvenile World Cup one day. I have the wherewithal to achieve that. I can only sue for grace and strength as I await the opportunity.”
The motivated, ambitious and tenacious youngster is indeed a delight to watch and would surely be of immense benefit to the nation one day.  It would be a travesty beyond compare if Prince Ato Bilson does not play to his fullest potential.
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