By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
Follow Akyereko on Twitter: @ AkyerekOfficial
2015 has travelled just four days within the 365 but there are youngsters who have placed themselves in pole positions to excel and draw attention within the year.
GHANAsoccernet.com has identified some of the best talents coming through in home and abroad and must be watched in 2015.
Here’s a pick of top 10 young Ghanaian talents who are no older than 21 years and are set to grace the calender year with their glistening tentacles of talent.
1 . BERNARD MENSAH – 20 years
Bernard Mensah is the main-man at Vitoria Guimaraes
Vitoria Guimaraes are struggling to keep hold of Mensah – a graduate from Fetteh Feyenoord Academy now WAFA. Spanish La Liga giants Valencia have already had a €2 million turned down by the Portuguese Liga Sagres side. Mensah’s talent allows him to score incredible goals from midfield and also contribute to goals. Mensah is one of the highly-rated youngsters in the Portuguese top-flight. A move to giants FC Porto is likely next summer. He has already notched four goals in 13 games for Guimaraes this season and could score more when the league resumes this weekend. Mensah won the 2014 GSN Player of the Year.
2. EMMANUEL ODARTEY 16 years
Emmanuel Odartey of Hearts of Oak
Hearts of Oak
Odartey is not one of the players you might have noticed in an enterprising young Hearts of Oak squad but his massive talent has earned him a couple of first team shots under Herbert Addo. Last season, when he was at a tender age of 15, under the guise of Mohammed Polo, Odartey regularly featured in first team friendly games and grabbed a couple of goals. Before his revelation, Isaac Mensah, dubbed Messi, was regarded as the best upcoming talent at the club but Odartey has upstaged him. Growing strongly in midfield, he can easily walk into the Phobians gilded compartment and make an impact with ease. He’s one of the young talents to watch in the 2014/15 season which is about to kick start in two weeks time.
3. ISAAC DONKOR – 19 years
Isaac Donkor, captain of Inter Milan’s Primavera, in hand shake with AC Milan counterpart before a game
Still without a debut in the Italian Serie A nonetheless Donkor has hallmarked his qualities in the Uefa Europa League. He earned his maiden senior team debut two season ago when he came off the bench to feature for the Nerazzuris in their Europa League game during Andrea Stramaccioni’s reign. Donkor has warmed the bench six times this season for Inter and his recent first team appearance came under former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini who has returned to the Giuseppe Meazza. Mancini has praised Donkor’s talent and see him a possible replacement for Nemanja Vidic when the Serb leaves the club. Ghana’s U20 technical team must be keeping tabs on him for the upcoming 2015 African Youth Championship in Senegal.
4. ELVIS MANU – 21 years
Elvis Manu of Feyenoord during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Go Ahead Eagles and Feyenoord at T
Manu’s application for nationality switch at FIFA is still pending. The powerful attacker wants to play for Ghana – home of his parents after playing for the Netherlands at youth level. While Oranjes manager Guus Hiddink is working around the clock to convince Manu to commit his international future to the European giants, Ghana are waiting for the process to complete with minimal effort. Currently the Dordrecht-born is one of the most talked-about players in the Dutch Eredivisie after shouldering Feyenoord’s campaign domestically. In Uefa competitions, Manu scored in the Uefa Champions League against Turkish giants Besiktas before taking his show to the Europa League when Feyenoord were downgraded, notching four goals to lift the Dutch giants. His back-to-back goals against Standard Liege was crucial for Feyenoord. He is expected to use the rest of the season and early parts of the 2015/16 season to demonstrate his qualities.
5. THOMAS PARTEY – 21 years
Thomas Teye, is 21, plays in the La Liga
Almeria – on loan from Atletico Madrid
One of the big surprises to miss out of the Ghana AFCON squad. Partey’s experience in the Spanish La Liga doesn’t testify that he’s merely 21 years old. Against Real Madrid and Barcelona, Partey played better than a normal player at his age. His abilities in midfield helped him to march the qualities of Isco, Toni Krooz & Co. With the class that he has showed in the first-half of the season, it is obvious he is up for greater things this season.
6. GIDEON JUNG – 20 years
Gideon Jung is an upcoming Ghanaian at Hamburg SV
Massively talented Ghanaian midfielder who is already in the Hamburg SV first team squad but has yet to make a Bundesliga appearances. The lanky midfielder has been a revelation in the German reserves league and has scored twice in 17 outings. Largely unknown to Ghanaian, like Karlsruhe’s Reinhold Yabo, Jung is primed to hit the limelight in 2015 and claim his shine.
7. BABA ABDUL RAHMAN 20 years
Needs no introduction. Baba Rahman is by far the best U20 player in the German Bundesliga. His performance for Augsburg has propelled the club and he’s being courted by stellar clubs including AS Roma and Borussia Dortmund. Starting with the 2015 AFCON, Baba could use the tournament to advertise his qualities with the Black Stars where he is staking a claim as a regular starter. After the AFCON, Baba’s value is expected to soar as he progresses towards being a finished product.
8. DANIEL AMARTEY 20 years
Daniel Amartey of FC Copenhagen
Already in Ghana’s preliminary squad for the 2015 AFCON. Manchester City’s Godsway Donyoh said of the midfielder last month: “He’s too talented. He’s one of the best players I have played with and I won’t be surprised if he gets to move to the EPL.” Amartey left Swedish side Djurgarden for bigger adventures last season and his move has proven a good one. At Copenhagen, he has instantly become an anchor at the club and steered them through Europe and the Danish Superliga. His goals in the Uefa Champions League and Europa League were vital for the Danish giants. Even if he doesn’t make the final cut for the AFCON tournament, the former Inter Allies midfielder is noted for his qualities and can still cover more distance.
9. AHMED ASSIBU 19 years
Ahmed Assibu with Rayo Vallecano team-mates after training
The New Essien! Junior brother of FC Sion and Ghana winger Ishmael Yartey. The 19-year-old powerful defensive midfielder who can also play in central defence and lateral positions because of his incredible versatility is truly a massive talent. Swedish side Hiddinge IF could not keep hold of him when he trialed out with them in November. His arrival in Spain drew attention and La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano are currently assessing his qualities. Assibu is currently training with the likes of former Chelsea starlet Gael Kakuta and former Liverpool star Insua.
10. OBENG REGAN 20 years
Obeng Regan is a massive players in Serbia
Real midfield genius. Obeng is known in Serbia for is massive talent at a tender age. Earlier in the year, he had trials at Ajax Amsterdam but contract feel hampered the move. The youngster does something different with the ball and that has wowed many European top scouts who are watching him with keen interest. He has netted five times in all competitions for CFK in Serbia. He could still make it back to Ajax in 2015 or reach a great height in the calender year.
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