The English Premier League is arguably the best league in the world and most players who have ply their career there feel privilege to be part of such a great league.
Some Ghanaian footballers have left a mark in the minds of the fans of the teams they played for. Currently, some are still writing a good account of themselves in the English Premier League.
Players like Tony Yeboah, Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari were in the class of their own and left huge mark in the premier League when they played for their respective clubs. They spent their best years in England and have contributed greatly to how Ghanaian players are perceived in foreign lands.
Samuel Amoesi of Onua FM looks at the performance of some Ghanaian players who have tasted the English football as well as the players currently playing there.
Tony Yeboah restored hope for Ghanaians as the second footballer to play in the EPL. He joined Leeds United from Eintracht Frankfurt in 1995 and featured in 66 games for the “Yorkshie” Club and scored 32 goals. He scored several memorable goals and won player of the month award on countless occasions. His goal against Wimbledon was adjudged the goal of the season in the 1995-96 seasons.
Micheal Essien was named the Bull by Chelsea fans; this signifies that he has a permanent mark on their minds. Essien signed for the Blues in August 2005 and played 168 matches scoring 17 goals. He won several accolades with Chelsea including several league trophies, FA cup and the champions league in 2013.
In August 2010, Asamoah Gyan signed for Sunderland and showed his worth after his club record transfer fee of £13 million. Even though he signed 4 years for the Black Cats, he stayed for only a season, scoring 10 goals in 33games. Gyan is remembered for scoring twice in his Premier League debut against Stoke city.
John Paintsil performed brilliantly for Fulham after his spell with West ham United. He featured in 75 matches and helped his team qualify for the Europa league finals, which is his team’s biggest achievement in Europe, his hands could not touch the trophy as Fulham lost by 2-1 to Atletico Madrid
Sulley Muntari’s stint with Portsmouth is memorable after he guided his team to clinch the English FA Cup in 2008.He played 29 matches scoring 4 goals. He played for Sunderland for some months appearing 9 times only.
Jeffrey Schlupp joined the English club since his boyhood and have played with them till he joined crystal palace last season, he made 122 appearances and scored 10 goals after he made a senior team and Daniel Amartey also joined the premier league side in January 2016. Both players helped their team Leicester city clinch the premier league trophy which is one of the greatest sporting histories of all time.
In 1994 Odartey Lamptey then at 20, made a loan move to Aston Villa and became the first Ghanaian to play in the EPL, his time with the “Villans” never lived up to expectation after he scored just 3 goals after several appearance.
Alex Nyarko, the third Ghanaian to play in the premier league after Tony Yeboah had played made 35 appearances for Everton scoring a goal. He was abused in a particular match which made him request for a move away from the club.
Kelvin Prince Boateng signed for Tottenham Hotspur in the year 2007, his stint at the club was limited. He played 25 matches and netted a goal and was later loaned to Borrusia Dortmund. He however returned to the EPL when he signed for Portsmouth in 2009 making 27 appearances and scored 5 goals.
John Mensah signed for Sunderland in 2009 and showed signs of greatness for the Black Cats but several injuries which he suffered never allowed him to play consistently for his team. He made 25 appearances and scored a goal.
Kingson played several teams in the EPL; unfortunately the teams he joined were weaker side so his quality did not prove any better. His first team in the EPL was Birmingham city in August 2007 his team got relegated and he moved on to Wigan Athletic, he was released after his contract expired at the end of the 2009–10 season. He later signed for the new entrants Blackpool where he played 20 matches; the highest he has played for a premier league side. He was released from the Seasiders after the end of the season.
Ghanaians were elated when it was rumored that Abdul Baba Rahman will be moving to Chelsea, after some days it became a ‘done deal’, most Ghanaian analyst were optimistic that with Jose Mourinho as the manager of Chelsea and with his love for African Players Baba would have better opportunity and be transformed under the Portuguese manager. The expectation couldn’t be met after Baba was rarely used in games,eventually he fall off the mark and was loaned to Schalke. He made 23 appearances
Season to prove
Christian Atsu has not been alive in the EPL since he signed for Chelsea in 2013, he was immediately loaned to Vitesse Arnhem, after a year spent with the Dutch side he was loaned to Everton the next season, he failed to impress the manager thereby being introduced into the several matches as substitute. He made 13 appearances for “The Toffees” and scored 2 goals. In May 2015 Atsu joined the newly promoted side Bournemouth on a loan deal, but unfortunately could not make an outing for his side, he featured in only 2 matches for “The Cherries” which were league cup games. He then moved on to the relegated Newcastle united in the championship, he helped his side got a quick return to the premier league. Atsu will have a season to prove because he has the affection of his manager and may be guaranteed of a first team play.
Andre Ayew felt over joy after he signed for Swansea in 2015,he proved his worth after winning the August player of the month Award. He played 35 matches and scored 12 goals. Unfortunately he got injured in his first match for his new club West Ham united and struggled to make an impact in the season on his return. Ayew will have to prove to the fans of “the Hammers” why he is the most expensive player in the clubs history.
Aston Villa signed Jordan Ayew from Lorient in July 2014 after he ignored several clubs in the EPL. Jordan’s season with the Villans was below the belts which eventually lead the team to be relegated, he played 58 matches and scored 10 goals in all competition. He further moved to Swansea city in the second round of the 2016/2017 season but struggled to win a first team football but was often used substitute; he played 14 matches and recorded a goal. Jordan has gone through pre season with “The Swans” and will have to prove why he should be in the heart of the fans, as his brother is.
Daniel Amartey joined Leicester city in January 2016 under Claudio Ranieri, he helped his team won the premier league that season. He made effort t to win a first team position under New Coach Craig Shakespeare but unfortunately was introduced into matches from the bench, he was mostly deployed to play at different positions on the field. Amartey will have to work hard to win a position this season else he stands the chance of being loaned elsewhere.
Jeffrey Schlupp had a long stint with Leicester city since his boyhood days. He made over 120 outings for the premier league side scoring over 10 goals; he was part of the Leicester team which made history by clinching the EPL trophy in 2016. After a struggle for playing with “The Foxes” the following season he made a move to Crystal Palace, he made an impact by helping them escape relegation and he played 16 matches and scored a goal.
By Samuel Amoesi
The writer is a sports journalist with Onua FM 95.1MHz