By Kwesii Asomadu
In 2011 the Time Magazine awarded its Person of the year to “The Protestor”. An honour representing the many global protest movements from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement.
A gesture that symbolised what had reshaped parts of the world that year. If any institution was to give an award for best Ghanaian Footballer of the year 2012, then its nomination should tip toe around what Time Magazine did in 2011.
While players like Emmanuel Clottey, Dede Ayew and Kwadwo Asamoah are all shoe-in to make the nominees’ list, a body that goes beyond one player should also make that list. The “Debutant” should be on the list.
A group representing not one, but the over 15 players who have made their debuts for the Black Stars this year. From the fire bearing Patrick Nyarko and Dominic Oduro plying their trade in the Major League Soccer, to the legion of players from the Ghanaian league - led by the league’s current Most Valuable Player, Daniel Nii Adjei - through to the twinkled toes of Frank Acheampong form the Malaysian league.
It has been a year where the Black Stars have had its own ‘Stars of the Future’ auditions and at times it has been an audition too many. From Richard Mpong’s debut goal in the 1-1 draw against Chile to Christian Atsu’s flirtous glance at the Abedi Ayew Pele throne through to teenager Alfred Duncan cameo role against Cape Verde.
Mubarak Wakaso and his fiery left-foot also made their debut for Ghana which has seen him propelled into the Nations Cup preliminary squad. Solomon Asante’s exploits for Berekum Chelsea has also seen him make the grade up. Another debutant who is definitely one for the future is Abdul Majeed Waris whose astonishing exploits in the Swedish league reverberated through all of Europe. The striker is still waiting to notch up his first goal for the Black Stars and at 21 years old he definitely has a lot of time to do that.
A debut for your nation represents a milestone for every player. An opportunity to play with some of your heroes you have watched battle for your country from afar. “I was kind of star-struck when I joined the team. I saw Sulley, I saw Derek Boateng. I grew up watching those guys play, and to be on the field with the national anthem being played, that was the most special moment in my life. I just stood there and wondered if this was a dream,” an emotional Patrick Nyarko said after his debut. Many more have definitely felt the same this year.
BREAK THROUGH PLAYER OF THE YEAR: A-TSUNAMI NICKNAMED CHRISTIAN
Christian Atsu | He represents one of Ghana’s aces at the 2013 Afcon
Before the days leading up to Ghana’s World Cup qualifier against Lesotho little was known of Christian Atsu but his performances for the Black Stars has left a whole nation spellbound. Two goals already and a man of the match performance against Malawi have seen his name sweep through the country like a tsunami. A-tsunami nicknamed Christian. He represents one of Ghana’s aces as the Black Stars chase Nations Cup glory in 2013. His trickery and cutting edge could help unlock the door that has been shut for the past 31 years.
Christian Atsu was not the only player to have scored for the Black Stars on his debut this year. Richard Mpong and Boakye Yiadom both weighed in with goals on their respective debuts this year.
DEBUTANTS IN WAITING
One player who deserves a debut for the Black Stars in a year that has seen so many reach that milestone is Enoch Adu Kofi. The former Black Starlet has been a mainstay for Danish side FC Nordsjælland en route to their first league title and their maiden Champions League appearance. Although the Danish side were often swatted around like flies against giants such as Chelsea and Juventus in the Champions league, Kofi’s undoubted ability was on show on Europe’s biggest club stage.
Adu Kofi | He is definitely somewhere in the front of the queue of incoming debutants
He is definitely somewhere in the front of the queue of incoming debutants. Another player in the front row of players to make their debut in 2013 is Arsenal’s Emmanuel Frimpong. The player tagged as the next “Bison” has fought his way and is now cleared by FIFA to play for the Black Stars.
Handing so many players their debuts last year has seen the pool of players for the Black Stars increase and added a bit of quality to the set up. Maybe, just maybe that quality could be the last ingredient needed in the potion that breaks the 31-year-old curse of the Nations Cup.
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