THE STAR THAT FAILED TO SHINE-Charles Taylor

Football is a sport played by 22 players, 11 players on each side who are chasing one ball. It can be played anywhere but professional football is played in a stadium where spectators pay money to watch their teams. Others too prefer to watch it on TV since the sport is now aired live on TV. I sometimes find it very strange why people have become so passionate about a sport which involves 22 peoples chasing one ball and supporters making noise when this ball is playing tricks on them. But surprisingly I belong to that group.

Football has become part of daily activities;especially when one lives in Kumasi, he might know what I am talking about. Football is talked about 24/7 on Kumasi FM stations. Just imagine that. You just tune your radio set to any radio station when it’s time for news! Just tell me the presenter will not talk about football. The greatest footballer of all times Pele (others think it is MARADONA) even dubbed football ”THE BEAUTIFUL GAME” after Brazil’s 1970 FIFA World Cup triumph over Italy. But I see football as ”THE SWEET BITTER GAME ”, sweet when a team wins and bitter when a team loses. The game also has an unfortunate aspect which has ended the dreams of most footballers: INJURIES AND HEART FAILURES.

Some footballers might have been the best in their generation had it not been for one injury or another. Injuries have ended their careers prematurely whilst others are still active footballers but have lost that Midas touch that once made them the most feared players in the world. They were great prospects and the engines of their teams. They were as quick as lightning when they had the ball in their territory but lost all those qualities after coming back from an injury. Their contemporaries could not match up with them during training or when there was a match, being it a friendly, exhibition or a tournament.

Most footballers have become victims of injury. Starting from Pele to Ransford Osei, Alan Smith, Michael Owen, Sebastian Deisler, Edu.Some footballers too were victims of health diseases such as heart problems. A typical example being Fadiga,Kanu. Others too like Mark Foe and Feher were not able to survive. They both died on the pitch. Similar incidents have occurred in India and Nigeria. Others too have injured themselves in car accidents or even resulting in their death. Dario Silva can no more play football after being amputated. He was involved in a car accident.

Today I want to focus on one Ghanaian footballer who could not fulfill his potential.

CHARLES TAYLOR

Kweku “Charles Taylor” Asampong  (30) was born in Sefwi in the Western region in Ghana on July 14, 1981. He was often called tailor, after his uncle who was a tailor. He used to help his uncle with work; he adopted the name Charles Taylor after the former Liberian president.His playing career started off at Great Olympics, where he used to polish the shoes of their management, he had a bet with the then chairman Ade Coker that he could play better than the team players, he was asked to play and showed excellent dribbling skills, and he later signed for the club.

He transferred to Accra Hearts of Oak from Accra Great Olympics in 2000. Taylor was handed the No. 8 shirt. He helped them win the Ghana premier national league in 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons, the African Champions League in 2000 and the African Super Cup Championship in 2001 where he scored the second goal against Al-Zamalek.In 2003, he and Bernard Don Bortey formed a great partnership scoring 18 goals each in the league.He controversially transferred from Accra Hearts of Oak to arch rivals Kumasi Asante Kotoko in 2003 for the then domestic transfer record fee of 400,000,000 cedis (roughly US$42,000),that is 40000 new Ghana cedis.

He was handed the famous No. 8 shirt, surrendered by departing captain, Godwin Ablodey who was also a former Accra Hearts of Oak player. The transfer caused a lot of bitter local sentiment towards Taylor, from which his popularity has never recovered.Taylor was offloaded, together with striker Frank Osei, Etoile du Sahel, but less than a year into what initially seemed a great move, the two players appeared surplus to Etoile’s requirement. Taylor joined the Tunisian club from Kotoko in 2004 for a fee of US$250,000. After an unsuccessful spell in Tunisia he was loaned to Accra Hearts of Oak in October 2006. Charles Taylor featured for Hearts of Oak in the 2006 Macufe Cup in South Africa. Taylor featured once for Hearts in 2006/2007 One Touch Premier League against Liberty Professionals.

He rejoined the Phobians permanently in 2008 and played two more seasons before moving to Nigeria to join Enugu Rangers.Taylor has moved back to his country and now represents Glo Premier League defending champions Berekum Chelsea. He  is trying to regain his form that made him one of the most feared players in Africa. Injuries have prevented him from attaining that cause.

Talent

Taylor is known for his dribbling skills on the ball, free kicks, and pace, shot power, massive influence within the team, two good quick feet, and adaptability on both wings and anywhere up front. He brings consistent pressure on defences with his deft touches, superb ball control and an amazing ability to get behind defenders and cross to fellow strikers. His skill has been likened to that of Cristiano Ronaldo. In his best seasons he had an average close to one goal per game in the domestic league. He was once the top goal scorer playing 19 matches and scoring 19 goals. He has been regarded by some as the best local player Ghana has ever produced.

International career

He was part of the Ghanaian 2004 Olympic football team that exited in the first round, having finished in third place in group B. He was a silver medalist with Ghana U-20 team at 2001 Africa youth championship in Ethiopia. He currently has forty one caps for the Black Stars scoring nineteen goals. He was also part of the Local Black Stars team which finished second in the 2009 CHAN tournament in Ivory Coast. He scored a terrific free kick against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the group stages of that tournament.

A footballer with so much talent will help Berekum Chelsea defend their Premiership crown.New Berekum Chelsea midfielder Charles Taylor is confident of recapturing his form that will help him get a recall to the Ghana national team. Can Charles Taylor be back to his former best??

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