By January 31, 2021 Articles
In 2009/10 I sat in room for a Premier League club I was working for. I believe it was an in-service training day of some sort. Or a Talent ID course. They were very new at the time. Anyway, I recall group discussions of how our kids are spoilt. And that we’ve given them too much, and that maybe something rough around the edges like playing on sand pitches would bring back some of the raw talent we often eulogize over. “Back in my day we used to play World Cup. It’s were you built confidence, skill, and learnt to improvise. Playing with older kids.” Brazil at the time was still the crowned hotbed of football. Perhaps the eve of the 2010 World Cup. Spain hadn’t taken that crown yet.
Fast forward England are on the cusp of another golden generation. Phil Foden, Callum Hudson Odoi, Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood. The list goes on. World and European success at youth level. When your living in it, sometimes its difficult to see or appreciate dearth of talent you have. How FAR we have come with our processes. That was 2009/10. I’ve often said the same with our current processes (in Ghana).
But fast forward 10 years I find myself back on African soil. And Ghana for the 1st time in 20 years. The essence and the raw ability we, or they spoke of. The sand pitches. I was standing on it.
Before my trip, I had a few stops. One was to a location in the Ivory Coast where I’ve seen talent and personality bursting from the seams. But due to, well, foreseen circumstances in this pandemic it wasn’t possible. But here I was, standing on a sandy pitch in New Town, Accra. With both kids and a young adults playing football.
With so much success in recent time in Africa. I at that precise moment. But we, are standing in the middle of a cross road between the golden years, the 90’s in my case, and 2020. There’s so much in between with those period – with the development of technology, facilities, education, and much more. Those things have fast tracked, and brought success. There was so much I saw at New Town on these sandy pitches. Youthful faces! Passion and enthusiasm, and the same energy we had as children playing late into the evening. And almost the opposite spectrum Tudu Mighty Jets FC. A professional outfit, with players and staff who have seen those come before them, and those currently taking the next step onto the world or European stage. And if you’ve read or listened to our previous material. The Middle Eastern, Asian, and US stage. Great opportunities available! Not just sporting, but educational as well.
We received great support for both these organizations.
What did I see? And what did I learn?
*Just as in the UK. There was a great mentor or coach leading the group. And with so much going on, this is where he was at 6pm that evening. Coaches, mentors, and leaders are needed at all levels of the pyramid.
*And that a coach or mentors job is never done. Learning is is a life long journey. Progress is on going.
*Drawing contrast. Bukom in Accra also. A boxing town known around the world for producing boxers, has a similar environment and set of circumstances. It made me realise, the Gold Coast is truly paved in gold.
*That the environment we discussed in our in-service. So many years ago. Going back to playing in unconventional circumstances – Playing in small spaces, sandy pitches. The very place in which I was standing. With poverty etc. There was so much to admire and be celebrated. With the potential and work done.
*I saw that in the feet and eyes of the players, these young people there was an incredible story. One that with some of the many things I saw in Ghana, young street sellers. Children not in school, I was sure would rock me to my core.
*And much more.

Oh sorry. I saw, learnt, and was told that with so much going on – with children not in school. And out on the street as young vendors, street sellers. Not out on the street selling things to buy the latest fad. But to support their family. There’s a lot to take in if you haven’t seen it before. You unfortunately learn to ignore it. Or accept it. But I learnt, through giving, and other people’s stories, that it’s impossible to help everyone. I couldn’t buy from every street seller in traffic on the N5.

That’s why I’m proud and honored to have been able to contribute with many, and other noble contributors and people.
And that’s why we’ll be running the same campaign again this year. With a view to supporting, and narrowing those years I speak of. The cross road(s), where’s so much has happened in between in football – with the development of technology, facilities, education, and much more.

Look out for our campaign, lastest news and notices, as we seek begin in early spring.

As with our podcast. Like, comment with your views, share and subscribe/follow. We’ll posting as usual vía social media keeping up with the stories as they unfold in the coming weeks. As always if you have any questions or queries. Email us at teamghanaeu@gmail.com or tweet or DM us at @teamghanaeu on IG or Twitter.

Written by Andrew Mensah-Twumasi @andrewmensahjr (IG/Twitter)



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