4 Ghanaian Diamonds That Encountered Too Much Too Soon Featured
26 Apr

4 Ghanaian Diamonds That Encountered Too Much Too Soon

In any field of culture or entertainment, whether it be sport or the arts, greatness is often defined by longevity. It’s thought to be hard to reach the pinnacle of any discipline, but to remain at the top is considered to be the true litmus test of one’s eminence.

On the other hand there is something to be said for fleeting brilliance, a star that shines so bright only to be extinguished quicker than it took to emerge.
 
The lines between star and potential star are becoming increasingly blurred, meaning fans and clubs alike are impatient. They demand an instant impact and if you don’t deliver it’s a missed opportunity for the player, not the club.
 
Few countries have been blessed with the number of exceptional players that have played for Ghana at both the senior and junior levels over the last decades. As the motherlode of talents, hardly a year passes by without a new star emerging from the West African country.
 
Sadly though, not all these potential stars are able to rise to the highest echelon of the sport. There is an increasing number of these players today. I thus attempt to write on four of these ‘diamonds’ that encountered too much too soon.
 
Dominic Adiyiah
 
One such player who falls into this category is Dominic Adiyiah.  Adiyiah’s head- turning performances for the Black Satellites of Ghana during their 2009 FIFA World U-20 triumph inevitably led to the big boys of European football to come calling but it was Italian giants AC Milan who won the race to sign the budding Ghanaian forward.
 
Not only had Adiyiah made an indelible impression in Egypt by leading his country to become the first African country to win the championship, but also saw him winning the Golden Shoe Award with 8 goals and awarded the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Both Milan and Ghana had high hopes for the forward!
 
He made it into the Black Stars team that played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and made cameo appearances against Germany and Uruguay. Adiyiah’s upward trajectory was cut short all too quickly.
 
His move to AC Milan only months after helping Ghana to a first World Cup trophy ended farcically. His nomadism has seen him tread a unique path across three continents, playing for nine different clubs including Heart of Lions- his Ghanaian club.
 
With every new club he fails to make a lasting impact at, the more tragic the tale of the boy who never reached his potential becomes, and the faster the wheels on the headline-powered Dominic Adiyiah sideshow spin. Now with Thai side Sisaket, but this isn’t what was expected from a player with so much promise.
 
Clifford Aboagye
 
Clifford Aboagye’s demise has made him the poster boy of under-achievement; typecast in every conversation as the archetype of wasted potential. 
 
The Accra -born attacking midfielder, was in his early years, considered to be as good as, if not better than most of Ghana’s best attacking midfielders of yore.
 
Aboagye started learning the ropes at Ghanaian side, International Allies where his spellbindingly performances earned him a place in the Black Satellites team that represented Ghana at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. 
 
Not having the height (5ft 4in), the build or the speed that many consider prerequisites of midfielders in modern-day football. That is precisely why it was a delight to see the way he dominated matches, proving that exquisite technique and innate talent still have the beating of power football.
 
It came as no surprise when he was awarded the Bronze Ball of the tournament as he led the Black Satellites to a third place finish.
 
Such performances couldn’t go unnoticed as Aboagye earned for himself a lucrative move to Serie A side Udinese Calcio, who subsequently loaned him Spanish outfit Granada CF with whom he barely made a mark.
 
Currently with Liga MX side Club Atlas, his name is rarely mentioned without the melancholic pondering of “Whatever happened to” preceding it- unless of course his name is being referenced in fable-like fashion, warning the pressures of mounting expectation upon the shoulders of young footballers.
 
Ebenezer Assifuah
 
Yet another player whose career could be likened to those above is Ebenezer Assifuah. He had the pace to get away from the quickest of full-backs, the strength to bully the best centre-backs in the Ghanaian league, the skill to rival much more talented Ghanaian forwards in history and unmatched power in his magical right foot.
 
Then with Liberty Professionals, Assifuah scored four against Berekum Chelsea in a league match in the 2012-13 season-making him the most feared attacker in the Ghanaian league.
 
Just like Aboagye, he earned a call-up into the Black Satellites for the 2013 African Youth Championship and he returned the Coach’s confidence in him by emerging a joint top-scorer along with Egypt’s Kahraba.
 
He replicated same form and feat and won the Golden Shoe award at the World Cup in Turkey with six goals. He was that good.
 
Assifuah’s downward trajectory has surprised many especially his fans and neutral Ghanaian football lovers alike. Even with spells with FC Sion and Le Havre, Ebenezer Assifuah has certainly failed to live up to the potential he had. This is a player once tipped to be the heir to Asamoah Gyan but…
 
 
Torric Jebrin
 
In 2008, Torric Jebrin likened to Ghanaian greats Mohammed Polo and Abedi Ayew  was heralded as one of the next great playmakers for the Ghana national side and was predicted to go on to big thing. 
 
Here was this kid who had incredible close control, a first touch that was the stuff of dreams and a performance level that was at a far higher than his age suggested.
 
He was destined to be a star but it just didn’t work out as it should have. I doubt we will ever have a definitive reason why, but we can look at his career and try and figure where exactly Torric stopped being one of the game’s biggest talents. 
 
At the age of just 17, Torric would make his first senior appearance for Hearts of Oak in the highly competitive and physical Ghanaian Premier League. 
 
He was flashy and very effective on the ball, he could beat players with the drop of a shoulder and possessed an incredible dribbling prowess.  He knew when to make runs into the box but his inability to always pick the right option sometimes left his coaches and teammates frustrated with him. That was expected though because he was a novice and on a learning curve.
 
At 28 and with Al- Kawkb club of Saudi Arabia, Torric Jebrin has fallen drastically short of what his formative displays promised to provide.
 
His supreme talent as a youngster was squandered due to a combination of pressure, greed and too much too soon – a problem which is becoming more prevalent for today’s young footballers. 
 
It’s almost impossible to judge these players as failures – such has been the careers that they’ve had. But for a short time, a fleeting moment in the long, perilous history of football, these players were considered to have the ability to rival the true greats from their nation.
 
Follow the writer on twitter @godfred_budu
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