Where are they now? – Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah

In the latest episode of a series lamenting the premature demise of players who were once regarded as prospects, Goal highlights the curious case of Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah

By Thierry Nyann

The conclusion of the 2009 Under-20 World Cup marked the emergence of a potential football gem, Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah, who would eventually fall off like a ton of bricks.

MISSING IN ACTION | Adiyiah featured in a friendly against Turkey recently

Indeed, Adiyiah's rise to prominence was quite short-lived, to say the least.


After rubbing shoulders with and toppling the likes of Jose Salomon Rondon of Venezuela and Brazil's Alex Teixeira, Adiyiah would have thought that the next couple of years would mark big stepping stones in his illustrious career.

The Ghana international won the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe prizes on offer at the said tournament with the eight goals he scored which helped his country to ultimate glory at the event and inarguably raised his reputation as one of world football's budding stars. Sadly, though, his upward trajectory was not to continue for long.


Adiyiah had originally moved to Europe to join Norwegian top-flight club Fredrikstad for a fee of only £100,000. He made his debut for the side in an away match against Aalesund on August 30. Despite going scoreless in four appearances in his first year, he did impress Fredrikstad’s coaching staff and helped the team finish second in the league. The following season saw him score twice during training camp practice yet he failed to register any goals in the four league matches he appeared in. He also made his debut in the Europa League that term, in the second leg of the third qualifying round tie against Polish outfit Lech Poznan.


In the aftermath of the success described at the outset which he enjoyed with Ghana's Black Satellites, speculation led to substance as AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani confirmed the Italian giants had signed the striker from Fredrikstad in a move rumoured to be worth €500,000.

The announcement was made on November 1, 2009, and the Ghanaian signed a contract only six days later, after passing routine medical examinations. The transfer was ratified on January 2, 2010, the first day of the winter window. Adiyiah, however, was still not able to play for his new club at the time as he was invited to feature for the Ghana national team at the Africa Cup of Nations almost immediately.

Adiyiah was the brightest star in a squad that included the likes of Dede Ayew and Agyemang-Badu during that victorious U20 World Cup campaign, yet after all that has ensued since, the 2009 Caf Young Player of the Year might now be wondering where it all went wrong

Upon his return, a month later, he did secure the work permit he had not yet obtained, thus becoming eligible to play in Italy. Despite this, he was never selected by Rossoneri head coach Leonardo for the remainder of the 2009–10 season.

The ex-Hearts of Lions player earned his first call-up with the Black Stars in November 2009 for a World Cup qualification match against Mali. Since then, he has made 14 appearances and scored just four goals for the national team.

A series of loan deals that saw him join Partizan Belgrade and Karşıyaka S.K. in Serbia and Turkey respectively all but signaled the beginning of his fall from grace. In June 2012, Adiyiah signed a three-year deal with Ukrainian Premier League side Arsenal Kyiv after he had spent the previous six months on loan there yet scoring just four goals in 36 matches for his current team tells of how he has been anything, but prolific in front of goal.


Adiyiah was the brightest star in a squad that included the likes of Dede Ayew and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu during that victorious Under-20 World Cup campaign, yet after all that has ensued since, the 2009 Caf Young Player of the Year might now be wondering where it all went wrong. Perhaps a little too much was expected of him. Still, few would have expected the fairytale to end so abruptly.

Bar any unforeseen renaissance, Adiyiah would be recalled as another who clearly could have been, yet never really was.

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