JACKSON OWUSU-The Sky is the Limit

There is no place like home. It’s Thursday afternoon 15:25 local time.Soccer in Ghana’s Nana Osei Kofi Abiri (NOKA) goes back to his roots as he is in Ghana to interview Berekum Chelsea skipper Jackson Owusu.

Previously known as Bechem Chelsea Football Club, the board of directors heeded the advice by the Ghana Football Association to use the name Berekum Chelsea rather than the Bechem Chelsea. Berekum Chelsea has not been in the form that saw them win the league last season and many reasons have been assigned to their misfortunes. Hence, the appointment of Hans van der Pluym after parting ways with Steve Pollack last Sunday.

 

His first assignment is at Sekondi this weekend as Berekum Chelsea locks horn with newly promoted side Wassaman Fc.Coach Hans van der Pluym will need his skipper to help Chelsea recover from their slump in form.

NOKA had a chat with Jackson Owusu . They discussed him playing for the Black Stars one day; life in Berekum; and his dream to play for Marseille.

 

Personal

Tell me more about your family

Jackson: I was born in Makro,Kumasi. My mother lives in Germany. I am a Christian (a roman catholic) and I’m very God fearing.

Are you still in school?

Jackson: No but I attended Eben International School in Makro,Kumasi. Junior High School was my highest level of education.

What do you do at your leisure time?

Jackson: I play video games, mostly FIFA 11 on my PlayStation 3.

What is/are favourite movie(s)?

Jackson:I don’t have a favourite but I like adventure movies.I think Robin Hood is not a bad movie.

What is/are favourite television programme(s)?

Jackson: I don’t have one.

What is your favourite food?

Jackson:  rice and tomato stew

Do you eat before a match?  

Jackson: Yes, I eat spaghetti around 11 am.

 

Humble Beginning

How did you start out in the game, where did your passion for football come from?

Jackson: I have been playing football since my childhood.

Who is/are your role model(s)?Why?

Jackson: Wesley Sneijder.I admire him because he is one of the best passers in the world.He’s a free kick specialist.

Who do you see as the best player in the world?

Jackson: Xabi Alonso

What is your position?

Jackson: I am a defensive midfielder but I’ve also been utilized in defence on several occasions.

Which Clubs have you played for?    

Jackson:Osika FC,Medoma and now Berekum Chelsea.

 

Life at Chelsea

How has it been for you at Chelsea?

Jackson: I’ve been at Chelsea for the past five years and I’ve been with them right from the first division. I am the longest serving player in the team. I played all 30 games last season but failed to find the back of the net. Personally, it was a great season. We won the Glo Premier League for the first time in the club’s history. No one expected us to win it.

What is/are the moment(s) you remember the most ?

Jackson: Firstly, when we came from two goals down to win 3-2 in Kumasi in the 1st Round of last season’s league.My second best moment is Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Accra Hearts of Oak in Accra last season.

What is/are the low point(s) you remember the most?

Jackson: My worst moment was our FA Cup defeat to Nania FC in the semifinals this year.

What is/are your dream team(s)? 

Jackson: Marseille is a team I would love to play for one day. Young players are given the chance to develop their game. Players like Andre and Jordan Ayew have all been given the chance to show the world their potential.

What is your goal/ambition?

Jackson: I want to be known internationally and represent my national team. The sky is the limit.

 

El Capitano

Do you have football friends?

Jackson: Yes. Emmanuel Osei Kuffour (General),Thomas Duah and Mark Edusei.

Have you had any offers from other clubs?

Jackson :Yes, a lot of teams outside Ghana want me. Accra Hearts of Oak, Kotoko, Ashgold and Medeama Sporting Club all want me to play for them.

I’ve realized you never captain your side even though you are the skipper of your team. Why is that so?

Jackson:Yes I’m the general captain of the team but I rarely captain the side because when I do so I usually get injured and when one player in the side captains and we win he continues to keep it till we lose a game.

Glo Premier League

How do you rate the standard of the Glo Premier League?

Jackson: It is very competitive. It is a good learning curve for young players like me.

Who do you tip to win the Glo Premier League this season?

Jackson: Can’t mention names now. We’re 9th after 4 games (5 points behind League leaders Kumasi Asante Kotoko) but I believe Chelsea will bounce back to win it.

What is the future for Ghana football?

Jackson: The future is bright especially after our national teams’ performances at international tournaments. The local clubs also have to follow suite.

 

National Team

Have you represented any of Ghana’s national teams before?

Jackson:  I was part of the Satellites team that qualified for the Under-20 Africa Cup this year. I played in the qualifiers but I was very disappointed I wasn’t selected for the main tournament. I hope I get my chance and my dream is to represent the Black Stars one day.

 

 

All the best

KOFI-‘I WANT TO PLAY FOR GHANA’

Soccer in Ghana’s (@NOKA88) returns to the world of football. He had a chat with German born Ghanaian footballer Kofi Beti Mensah (19). They discussed him playing for the Black Stars one day; life in Germany; and his dream to play for HSV.

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany. The city is home to over 1.8 million people. Kofi Beti Mensah popularly known as ‘Auge’ lives in Hamburg with his mother. Kofi is the son of Emmanuel Danso,a man who used to play football in Germany’s lower divisions  in the early 90’s.Mr Danso now lives in Amsterdam.

Auge

Tell me more about your family

Kofi: I am a Christian.I live with my mum in Germany . My dad lives in Amsterdam and my brother is Jackson Owusu. He plays in Ghana for Berekum Chelsea .

Are you still in school?

Kofi: Yes, I study Business Management at Berufliche Schule H20 Hamburg

What do you do at your leisure time?

Kofi: I play football with my friends

 

Where do you mostly spend your vacations?

Kofi: I go to Amsterdam almost every summer to visit my dad.

What is/are favourite movie(s)?

Kofi:Bad Boy 2

What is/are favourite television programme(s)?

Kofi: Euro Sport

 What is your favourite food?

Kofi:  Lasagne

Do you eat before a match?  

Kofi: Yes  but something very light.

Midfield General

How did you start out in the game, where did your passion for football come from?

Kofi: I have been playing football since my childhood. Football makes me happy. It’s my life.

Who were your idols growing up?

Kofi: Ronaldo and currently I also admire Jordan Ayew.

What is your goal/ambition?

Kofi: I want to reach the top.I want to be stronger and faster.

The kid from Hamburg             

Which Clubs have you played for?    

Kofi: Hsv Juniors, Eintacht Norderstedt, SC  Langehorn, Niendorf Tsv, Camlica Genclik

How has it been for you at Hummelsbüttler SV?

Kofi: It has been great here. Everything is good I have friends and family in Hamburg.

What is your position?

Kofi: Midfield Nr.6 and 10

What is your favourite position?

Kofi: I have played in several positions but I prefer playing nr.10.

Who is the best player in the world in your opinion right now?

Kofi: Lionel Messi.
What is/are your dream team(s)

Kofi: HSV, Fc St.Pauli, Ajax Amsterdam

What is the relationship with your coach? 

Kofi: I  have a good relationship with my coach.

What is/are the moment(s) you remember the most ?

Kofi: My first 3 goals in a junior match.

What is/are the low point(s) you remember the most?

Kofi: My first red card.

Do you have football friends?

Kofi: Yes. Kevin Ingreso (HSV)

Which team will win the Bundesliga this season? 

Kofi: Fc Bayern München

Kofi´s Dreams

Do you ever see yourself playing for the Hamburg senior side?

Kofi: Yes.I hope to rejoin HSV very soon.

Do you ever see yourself playing for the Black Stars?

Kofi: Yes.I just pray I get my chance one day.

What if the Deutscher Fussball Bund invites you to play for Manschafft? Will you play for them?

Kofi: I want to play for Ghana.

Thanks for your co-operation.

Siro- ‘I WANT TO BE LIKE DANI ALVES’

Soccer in Ghana’s Nana Osei Kofi Abiri returns to the world of football for a chat with Dutch born Ghanaian footballer Sir Ralph Owusu (17). They discussed him playing for the Black Stars one day; his future at Ajax; and his efforts to play for a big club in Europe. It’s Thursday evening 21:30, Soccer in Ghana visits the Owusus at Purmerend. Purmerend is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. The city became the trade center of the region but the population grew relatively slow. Purmerend has seen major expansions and still continues to do so until the present date. These expansions have turned Purmerend into a commuter town; many inhabitants of Purmerend work, go to school or spend their leisure time in Amsterdam.

Leicester City´s John Paintsil and Samuel Inkoom remain Ghana’s main men at right back, but long term, we need to get a third option that is considerably younger than these two because Paintsil and Inkoom will soon be nearing the twilight of their careers and Opare (also a right back) has made the left back position his. In my view Ajax´s  (Under 18) Sir Ralph Owusu could also be looked at (Ghana´s junior teams) even if he does not merit a Black Stars call up now. He is one for the future.

Sir-Ralph Owusu popularly known as ‘Sir’ or ‘Siro’ by his friends was born on January 1, 1994.The young lad lives with his siblings and parents in Purmerend. Sir-Ralph comes from a Christian home. Mr. Owusu Yeboah (glued to the TV set as he watches the Fulham-FC Twente Europa League game) is sitting next to his son in their living room as the interview starts. Ralph’s kid brother Leeroy (15) leaves the room as the interview begins.

Talent

Tell me more about your family

Ralph: I have 4 siblings, all boys. My younger brother Leeroy also plays for Ajax (Under 16) side. My youngest brother will also start his football career next week.

Are you still in school?

Ralph: Yes, I study Business Administration at Horizon Hoorn School.

What do you do at your leisure time?

Ralph: I spend a lot of my time with my family and friends. I also jog and train a lot.

Where do you mostly spend your vacations?

Ralph: I go to Ghana (Kumasi) once a while.

Do you have a girl friend?

Ralph: Yes [He smiles].

Who´s your dream girl?

Ralph: Beyonce.

What is/are favourite movie(s)?

Ralph: Coach Carter

What is/are favourite television programme(s)?

Ralph: Voetbal International and Dino Show.

Do you like reading?

Ralph: Not really, but read my school books.

Do you have a car?

Ralph: No

What do you mostly eat?

Ralph: I eat porridge in the morning, cornflakes in the afternoon and potato chips in the evening.

Do you eat before a game?

Ralph: Yes, I eat very early in the morning.

Leeroy (Ralph's bro) with Edgar Davids

The New Daniel Alves

How did you start out in the game, where did your passion for football come from?

Dad: He started playing football when he was eleven years old. He begun playing in defence but was transformed into a striker when he moved to OSV. Ralph was then deployed as a midfielder when he initially joined FC Volendam. He played as a defensive midfielder most of the time. The then coach of FC Volendam B1 later made him a right back because of his speed and his ability to initiate attacks. That’s how he got to Ajax. He has never looked back since.

Ralph: My dad used to play football when he was in Ghana. I think that’s where the passion came from.

Dad: I never played professionally but I was a very good footballer. I was part of the Suhum Secondary Technical school team. I used to play for Jupiters, a team based in Nkawkaw at juvenile (Colts) level and played against Abedi Ayew Pele and many other stars of yesteryear. My dad did not allow me to continue because there was no one at home to pound fufu for the family. He would always complain when I got home late from training.

What is your goal/ambition?

Ralph: I want to reach the top, absolute top. I want to play against and with one of the best footballers in the world.

The Ajacied

How has it been for you at Ajax?

It has been great here. You are taught all that needs to be known in football. The training one gets here is one of the best in the world.

Did you ever doubt yourself?

I have never really had doubts about my talent. The only moment I doubted my self was when I was not selected by the Oranje Under 17 coach (Netherlands under 17 team).

What is your favourite position? I have played in several positions but I prefer playing at right back.It’s my favourite position because of my speed and my ability to start attacks.

Who is the best player in the world in your opinion right now?

Ralph: Lionel Messi. He can do anything with the ball .

Who is the best right back in the world in your opinion right now?

Ralph: Daniel Alves. I want to play like him.

Who were your idols growing up?

Ralph: Cristiano Ronaldo, Daniel Alves and Ronaldo.

Which clubs have you played for?

Ralph: Purmersteijn,OSV,FC Volendam and Ajax .

What is/are the moment(s) you remember the most in your short career?

Ralph: The day I scored a hat trick against Ajax when I was at OSV.

What is/are the low point(s) you remember the most?

Ralph: I was very disappointed when I was not selected by the Netherlands Under 17 team coach.

'I want to be like Dani Alves'

Who is the most difficult opponent you have faced?

Ralph: It’s Nathan Kabasele of Anderlecht and the one I hope to face one day is Lionel Messi. He’s every defender’s nightmare.

Do you have football friends?

Ralph: Yes, of course I have. Jody Lukoki (Ajax), Ola John (FC Twente) and Frank Olijver (FC Zwolle).

Who would you like to change your day with if you were given the chance?

Ralph: Kevin Prince Boateng. He has gone through a lot. He has seen it all. From Ballack´s injury to becoming a star in another country and then representing Ghana after playing for Germany since his childhood.

What would it mean for you to play in a big club in Europe?

Ralph: My dream is to play for Chelsea, Real Madrid or AC Milan.

Who do you think will win the 2011/2012 Eredivisie?

Ralph: Ajax will definitely defend their Eredivisie title. They have a good team and they have made great additions to the side this summer.

Ralph´s Dilemma

Do you ever see yourself playing for the Black Stars?

Ralph: It’s my dream to play for the Black Stars one day but I now want to focus on playing for Jong Oranje (the Netherlands youth team)

What if both the GFA and KNVB invite you at the same time to play for their respective national teams?

Ralph: Very difficult question. [He pauses and takes time to think].I think Ghana.

What do you think was the key factor in the Black Star’s 2010 FIFA World Cup success?

Ralph: Ghana played more football. The team had self belief and they played as a team.

The Way Forward

What is the way forward for Ghana football?

Dad: Ghana does not have a clinical finisher. Our strikers do not know how to shoot on target and their ball placement is very poor. One Ghanaian striker was invited by Ajax to come and train with them. He impressed the coaches with all that he did. But his shooting let him down. It was so abysmal. So he couldn´t get the contract and had to fly back to Ghana. That´s our main problem. But I think the problem is a continental one. Africa does not really have clinical finishers. For instance, Real Madrid sent Eto´o on loan to Mallorca when he first arrived in Spain to improve on his goal scoring and he´s now of the best in the world. Our strikers are too tiny. We need big muscular men as strikers. A striker has to be very built and tall.

One thing that the Turkish national FA does is that every summer they send scouts all over the world (mainly Germany since they a large number of Turkish nationals living there) where Turkish nationals are to monitor them and organize tournaments (sort of a mini-national team) so that they can best the best crop of players for their national team .That´s one thing I think Ghana must also do because we have a lot of talents in the diaspora. The GFA always wants to wait for someone to be a star before they show interest in the person. We have to start from somewhere. I quite remember I invited an official from Ghana to watch my son play but he never turned up.

The sky is the limit for Ralph.

Thanks for your co-operation.

Edwin and Raymond Gyasi: Our speed is our weapon

What’s in a name? Not so long ago, everything, that one small badge of family lineage binding you and yours to a certain rung on the social ladder for generations on end. Even today, a name is like a stamp of identity, carrying genuine weight that can often make it heavy to bear. The Ayew and Gyan brothers are the most famous football siblings in Ghana.Amsterdam also has its soccer brothers of Ghanaian descent in the Gyasis.I have been following these boys for some time now and I have a great feeling that they need to play for Ghana.

It’s Thursday evening 20:00, Soccer in Ghana visits the Gyasis at  Kraaiennest in de Bijlmer (Amsterdam). The Bijlmer is one of the neighbourhoods that form the Amsterdam Zuidoost (‘Amsterdam South-East’) The Bijlmermeer neighbourhood, which today houses almost 100,000 people of over 150 nationalities, was designed as a single project.

Brothers Edwin and Raymond Gyasi grew up there as the sons of Ghanaians. They could end up playing for the Black Stars in the near future. Raymond is the younger of the two. The 17-year old is a midfielder who can also play in a more advanced role when called up to perform such duties.

Together, they are 7 children: six strong boys and a girl. The Gyasis come from a Christian home. Raymond likes to go on vacation in the USA , and yet he somehow feels connected to the African country, though he can’t quite explain why. Edwin on the other hand likes to visit Ghana.Edwin is Raymond’s (17) big brother. The 20 year old winger recently extended his contract with AZ, has been given the chance to play in the first team.Like Raymond, Edwin was born in Amsterdam.

The 20-year-old is hoping to play for the Black Stars, Ghana’s national team. As youngsters the brothers have played for almost the same clubs, CTO’70, AFC Amsterdam and AZ Alkmaar. Edwin is back at AZ (after loan spells at Eerste Divisie (First Division) side SC Telsar) while Raymond plays for the AZ under 19 team.

Like many children of immigrants, Edwin and Raymond have a diffuse relationship to their nationality and roots, with two hearts beating in their chests. When it comes to playing for the national team, however, they can only opt for one country.

Raymond is sitting next to Edwin in their living room as the interview starts, at their home in Kraaiennest Amsterdam’s  Bijlmer neighbourhood. For a young football player, Raymond is built than one would expect. He speaks quietly and seems very confident.

                                                                                                                                  Talent

Raymond Gyasi

Raymond Gyasi

Are you still in school?

Raymond: Yes, I have my CommercialCustomer Service Level 3 Diploma (Commercieel Medewerker Niveau 3).

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Raymond :My strengths are my speed and my vision. I’m a very bad loser. That’s my weakness.

What is/are the moment(s) you remember the most in your short career?

Raymond: I scored a goal against Feyernoord in the finals of a tournament last year. I think May 2010 to be precise.

What is/are the low point(s) you remember the most in your short career?

Raymond: I could not make the B1 squad at Zeeburgia

What is your character?

Raymond: I’m a very quite person. I know when and when not to say something.

What is your goal/ambition?

Raymond: I want to become a professional footballer.

What do you do at your leisure time?

Raymond: I spend a lot of my time with my family and friends.

Are you interested in politics?

Raymond: Not at all.

What is favourite television programme?

Raymond: Jersey shore

How did you start out in the game, where did your passion for football come from?

Raymond: I started football at a very young age. I think when I was eight years old and it was easier for me since my brother had already started playing.

Do you eat before a game?

Raymond: Yes,I eat pasta or any warm food

Do you ever see yourself playing for the Black Stars?

Raymond: It’s my dream to play for the Black Stars one day but I don’t see myself playing for Ghana’s youth teams any time now because the organization in the Starlets and Satellites is very poor.

What if the KNVB invite you to play for the Dutch?Will you play?

Raymond: Yes, I will opt to play for Jong Oranje (the youth team)

Raymond Gyasi doing his own thing

What do you think was the key factor in the Black Star’s 2010 FIFA World Cup success?

Raymond: Teamwork


That said, what went through your mind after Gyan’s penalty miss?

Raymond: It can happen to anyone. Too bad he kicked the ball so high.

In your view, is this the most talented team Ghana has ever had?

Raymond: Can’t say. But I think it’s a very good team. The teams lacks the ability to initiate attacks. Our strikers squander too many chances but I think it shall be well one day.

Who is a better player? Raymond or Edwin?

Raymond: Edwin. He’s my role model

Do you dream of playing alongside each other in the same team?

Raymond: We’ve trained together before but our dream is to play together in the Black Stars.



What would it mean for you to play in a big club in Europe?

Raymond: Chelsea is my dream team because Michael Essien is there.I hope to play for them in the future if not soon.

Who were your idols growing up?

Raymond: Edwin,Ronaldo,Willy Overtoom and Thulani Serero

Who do you think will win the 2011/2012 Eredivisie?

Raymond: AZ of course

Raymond leaves the living room to discuss something with Richmond (his cousin) as I interviewed Edwin. Edwin sits relaxed in the sofa as our chat is about to begin. He has the broad shoulders of a professional footballer.

Promising Player

Edwin Gyasi  was  invited to the camp of Ghana’s Satellites team as they prepared for the African Youth Championship in Lybia this year.The 1,85 m tall player can also play as a winger. Edwin is an athlete because he is too fast with and without the ball. His speed is his asset.


Are you still in school?

Edwin: I have a HAVO Diploma (literally: “higher general continued education”) at Willem Blaeu after I left Calanb Lyceum.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Edwin: My strengths are my speed, very good when it comes to a one on one situation. I can easily lose my marker and I’m technically gifted. I’m just like Raymond .I’m a very bad loser.

What is/are the moment(s) you remember the most in your short career?

Edwin: My debut was the best moment in my career.Secondly, my performance against Atletico Madrid in the Coppa Amsterdam on May 23 ,2010 is a day I will never forget.

What is/are the low point(s) you remember the most in your short career?

Edwin: I don’t have a low point

What is your character?

Edwin: I’m a very interesting person. I am very sociable and I always want to share what I have.

What is your goal/ambition?

Edwin: I want to become the best footballer in the world.

What do you do at your leisure time?

Edwin: relaxing with my family and friends.

Are you interested in politics?

Edwin: No

What is favourite television programme?

Edwin: Voetbal Internationaal,Family Guy and South Park.

Do you eat before a game?

Edwin: Yes, I eat everything especially pasta.

First of all, you were expecting to help the Ghana U20 team at the African Cup this year but were not on the squad. Why don’t you start with explaining exactly what happened.

Edwin: I was very happy when I first heard the news because I had been dreaming of playing for Ghana for a very long time. But later that feeling vanished as I was disappointed by the officials.I was very frustrated. I didn’t hear anything from coach Orlando Wellington again. I spoke with Coach Akwasi Appiah (U-23 Coach) and he told me about the upcoming All Africa Games but I haven’t heard from him since.

 

How did you start out in the game, where did your passion for football come from?

Edwin: I started football when I was 7 years old but before that I didn’t know anything about the game.

Do you ever see yourself playing for the Black Stars?

Edwin: Yes. I see myself playing for the Ghana Black Stars one day.

What if the KNVB invite you to play for the Dutch?Will you play?

Edwin: I have to think about it very well before I make a choice.

What do you think was the key factor in the Black Star’s 2010 FIFA World Cup success?

Edwin: Teamwork and determination


Ed

That said, what went through your mind after Gyan’s penalty miss?

Edwin: It was so sad. Why should you shoot so high?

In your view, is this the most talented team Ghana has ever had?

Edwin: No,because I was not part of the team [ He laughs]. Just kidding but on a serious not Ghana does not really have creative players.

Have you enjoyed your loan spells at SC Telstar?

Edwin: I have learnt a lot over there. Football is about winning keeping in mind that the best way to attack is to defend.

What are your chances at AZ?

Edwin: It’s great to be back at AZ and I’ve come back a better and stronger player.

What would it mean for you to play in a big club in Europe?

Edwin: My dream is to play for Manchester United. I wish to succeed Ryan Giggs.


Who were your idols growing up?

Edwin: Giggs,Ronaldinho,Messi is also good ,Quincy and Ronaldo.

Who do you think will win the 2011/2012 Eredivisie?

Edwin: AZ

 

Thanks for your co-operation.

 NOKA

Credit: Deborah Saah Amponsah & the Gyasis