Controversial Black Stars midfielder, Kevin-Prince Boateng, says he remains committed to Ghana and has no regrets choosing the country over Germany as he prepares to make a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup in three months’ time.
In an interview that could be interpreted as reaffirming his loyalty to the national team, following criticism that he abandoned the team for two years only to resurface as Ghana was on the brink of another World Cup qualification, Boateng told the latest issue of FIFA Weekly magazine “I feel increasingly Ghanaian.” “I’m discovering that side of me, but I’ve definitely still got a lot to learn about the country and its culture.”
In fact, no player divides opinions among Ghanaians like German-born Boateng does, with many still viewing his comeback last November with suspicion. His fiercest critics call him an opportunist who turns his back on his fatherland and only gatecrashes Ghana’s World Cup party.
The former German youth player applied for nationality switch after Ghana had qualified for the 2010 World Cup and became an instant hit in the Black Stars during the tournament in South Africa. Under rather bizarre circumstances, the Schalke star quit the national team only to return when the Stars looked sure bets for a place in Brazil 2014. He only featured in Ghana’s last qualifier and coincidentally scored the team’s last goal of the qualifiers, as Ghana lost 2-1 to Egypt in Cairo in the return leg playoff match.
In 27 years of life, charismatic Boateng has only been to Ghana a few times. In fact, he doesn’t speak any Ghanaian language, but has a tattoo of Ghana’s map inscribed on his arm — a visible link to his Ghanaian heritage.
“Until 2010 I had never visited Ghana before, but the national team gave me a warm welcome. I’ve since grown to love it and now I even eat Ghanaian food at home in Dusseldorf. I know there are a lot of young children in Africa that want to grow up to be like me, so I think it’s important to be a good role model.”