Sports News of Wednesday, 5 December 2018
The Chinese League may not rank among the top most competitive leagues in the world but breaking even can be quite a challenge.
Hence in this light, heading into the 2017/2018 Chinese football season Frank Acheampong was kept busy by two things; the first one which looked easier to accomplish was making the Tianjin squad for the season.
The second, which required a dint of hard work, luck and act of divinity was becoming not just a regular member of his side but key figure both in the dressing room and on the field.
Chinese Clubs are allowed to register a total of six foreign players over the course of the season, but the number of foreign players allowed on each CSL team at any given time is limited to four. A maximum of three foreign players can be fielded in each match.
Acheampong passed the first test of becoming one of four foreign players registered by Tianjin Teda but the second task looked more difficult to accomplish with the Ghanaian midfielder sitting out Teda’s first two games. As expected Acheampong was worried by the lack of game time but was also hopeful that the God he so much trusts will intervene and get him a place in the starting XI.
Lo and behold, the winger was named in the lineup for Tianjin’s third game and he wasted no time in reminding his manager of what he is made off. A 19-minute strike was the first of a three goals he scored to give Tianjin a remarkable 3-2 victory over Alexandre Pato’s Tianjin Quanjian.
The goals coupled with the outstanding display in the game meant that Acheampong was going to start Teda’s next game and he never looked back. He went on to a score a historic 17 goals for a side that spent much of the season fighting to stay afloat in the top tier of Chinese football.
The winger-turned-striker became the third highest scoring African player in the Asian country, behind Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo and Congo’s Cedric Bakambu.
Frank Acheampong while reflecting on his performance in the just ended season, cited two things as the reason behind his impressive form – God and teammates.
Having been socialized in a Christian home, Acheampong attributed his incredible form to God and his teammates. I just have to thank God because it hasn’t been easy but with the effort we put in and God’s grace everything went as we expected. We were going down but thank God we survived and i must say that it was an amazing season. A very memorable season for us and me as well and i just have to thank the fans for their support.”
On the love and support he receives from the club and fans, Acheampong said.
“It is so amazing the love they’ve shown. In one of our games, I needed to score to make a record but I couldn’t but still, my team showed love”, he told reporters on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport.
Experts and pundits alike will be keeping eagle eyes on Coach Kwesi Appiah with regards to the call-up of in-form Frank Acheampong as there happens to be a dearth of strikers and essentially goal scoring forwards in the National team.