African All Stars

Jonathan Mensah: Columbus Crew and Ghana defender determined to play on

21:25 EAT 27/05/2021
Nemanja Nikolic Jonathan Mensah Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire
The former Udinese and Granada centre-back talks about retirement as he nears his 31st birthday

Ghana international Jonathan Mensah believes he is in top shape to continue playing despite hitting the wrong side of 30.

The Columbus Crew captain, who turns 31 in July, has just begun a new campaign with the US-based club after leading the side to clinch the Major League Soccer Club Cup last season.

He has featured in all but one of The Black and Yellow's six matches so far this term.

"I’m going as long as I can, I feel so great! I am going to be 31 this year and I have never felt this great before," Mensah told Citi Sports. “Last year I played every single game for the Columbus Crew, I just couldn’t believe it but I am so thankful to God for blessing me with strength.

“I have once labeled an injury-prone player and that motivated me to take my fitness even more seriously and it moved me to a different dimension," he added. “I am going to play for as long as I can, if I feel good I’m going.”

Last season, Mensah made 28 appearances to help the club attain their ambition in the MLS.

Despite his fine performance at club level, the centre-back continuous to be overlooked by the Ghana national team, having last featured for the Black Stars at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt. 

“My doors are wide open to the national team always. I’m never going to retire from international football," Mensah said on his Ghana snub in March. “I don’t even have the ink in my pen to write and announce a retirement.

“Even if I’m done with club football and needed by Ghana at 40, I will avail myself," he continued. “Even the likes of Roger Milla and Flavio Amado were grown and unattached yet they still played for their national teams.”

“If I’m playing great week-in-week-out, I do not need to worry about anything going on.

"I just focus on my team [club] because if you don’t get a call-up, you are still with your team.

"I don’t get disappointed or discouraged, I just keep working hard and hopefully when the time comes, I will be ready to play the national team."

Mensah, who made his international debut in 2009, has feature in six Afcon tournaments and and two World Cup tournaments.