Sports News of Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Former Ghana International, Derek Boateng, claims that the reason most Ghanaian and African footballers fail to reach their true and fullest potential is because they do not listen to good counsel when they are at the peak of the careers.
The two-time FIFA World Cup player, said the bliss of fame and fortune, which usually comes instantaneously, gets into the heads of many footballers, and sometimes ruin their careers.
Speaking on Football Legends Night show on GH One television, Boateng who had a relatively successful career at club level said, many young players from Ghana and Africa go into football knowing that hard work and determination will help them get out of poverty and provide them the means to help their families but somehow they lose focus along the way.
“Look, things are so difficult in Africa and all the players we try to go to Europe as soon as possible so you can come back and help the family, but most of the time we don’t listen. I am telling you, all the footballers we don’t listen. We all think that we know everything because we are playing football and some money is coming into our pockets. Some of the times when we are getting advice from people who cannot do anything for us we think they don’t have the right to tell us what to do. That is our downfall, and we spend so much money doing wrong investments and buying unnecessary things.”
Derek, 34, who won 47 caps for Ghana played for several top teams in Europe, including Fulham in England, Panathinaikos in Greece, Getafe in Spain, and FC Koln in Germany said young players must be grounded and focused if they want to reach their potential.
He said one of the players of his generation who was a true embodiment of professionalism and determination was Michael Essien, who now plays for Indonesian side Persib Bandung.
Derek Boateng and Michael Essien both played for Dansoman-based Liberty Professionals before a career breakthrough came when they played for the Black Starlets and Black Satellites in 1999 and 2001 respectively.
Essien who played for English Premier League side Chelsea is considered one of the finest footballers on the African continent and was simply unstoppable during his peak as he established himself as a footballer with a blend of vision, technique and power.
Boateng says Essien was able to become a household name in Ghana and abroad because his foucus and determination was unquestionable.
“Essien is so professional and you have no idea. Sometimes when we are on break in Europe and we come down to Ghana, Essien wouldn’t come because he was so determined to make it and he was the only player at the U-17 level who kept his position throughout the qualifiers to the tournament,” Boateng said on the Football Legends Night Show.
“Essien never lost form in his career and always kept his position. When we come for national assignment and scheduled to leave the next day, Essien leaves the same day and you can see how serious this guy is,” Boateng said.