By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
Follow Akyereko on Twitter: @AkyerekOfficial
Braga SC could be the modest but yet the best move for the Ghanaian teenager who has arrived on a three-year-contract after sealing a move from Ghanaian side West African Football Academy.
It’s Monday evening in Braga and Emmanuel Oti is in relaxed and calm mood after returning from town. The former WAFA graduate has been talking for close to an hour, discussing everything from the adrenaline rush he experienced at signing for SC Braga to the sudden change of culture and the strong determination he feels at becoming the number option one at his role at his new club. “You can always insist to stay at a club like Braga when you have a lot of option. I feel excited about it already.”
The 2013 Ghana U17 talisman maintains some brief silence, as he talks about what it is like to be a teenager among experienced crop of stars at one of Portugal’s best clubs and aspiring to succeed. “They have good talented players and I’m not the only one vying for that role – we are three and anyone is capable.”
“My ambition is to be a top professional and be among the greatest in history of football.”
His mind drifts back to the period he has spent training at the club, the waiting for the winter transfer window to open and what influenced his decision to ignore offers from Belgium and other clubs. “I was here for one month training and going through the transformation. I choose here because many of African talents have excel here with likes of Bernard Mensah and others.”
His arrival soars the number of Ghanaian players in Portugal to over six in the top-flight. Bernard Mensah, who the young playmaker mentioned was his team-match back at WAFA and is now one of the best youngsters in the Portuguese top-flight. Alhassan Wakaso, Emmanuel Boateng, Osei Barnes and Salifu Gominah.
With challenges for young African footballers becoming tougher and success undergoing redefinition through adaptability to systems and formations as well as cultural environment, Oti however insists he is bent on working towards his own success from the field and translate it into stardom in the coming years ahead of him.
“As a footballer you need to face tough competitions otherwise you can’t called yourself a star…and I’m really ready for that. As I said already you need to face tough challenges before you can be a star.”
In most cases, the challenge goes beyond just adaptability to how a coach wants you to play or fall in line with a club’s philosophy. But cultural alterations and adaptability. Footballer’s dieting is a key part of their progression and this is directly lined to the culture in the country. Leaving Ghana to Southwestern Europe means a lot of changes. But Oti says he can’t complain that much. “I can’t complain much and I need to learn everything quickly.”
The weather in Portugal is obviously different from climate in Accra where Oti grew up playing football but he says it doesn’t look different to him at all. ”In Portugal the weather is not so bad as other European countries…Sometimes sunny and raining so I’m used to it now.”
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