Kwame Bonsu has thanked Kumasi Asante Kotoko for offering him a path back into football after his 13-month incarceration in Sweden.
The 24-year-old midfielder is back in Ghana after he served 13 months of a two-year sentence for raping his wife. And last Sunday, he made his competitive debut for the Porcupine Warriors with a powerful display in Kotoko’s 3-2 away win over Coton Sport in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The win and the performance delighted Bonsu, who continues to claim he is innocent even after serving time and losing a career in Sweden that many had predicted was destined for great things.
Instead, he is keen to get his life and football career back together and in that sense last Sunday’s game was a great start.
Currently on a three-year contract, Bonsu hopes the opportunity with Kotoko will help him put his life back together.
“I have lost everything,” Bonsu told 3news.com in an exclusive interview. “Those 13 months were the most difficult period of my life but now I am happy to be out, happy to be back home where I grew up and among friends and family and happy to have an opportunity to play football again with Asante Kotoko.”
Bonsu left Ghana as a 17-year-old like many Ghanaian footballers with the sole ambition of making it as a professional in Europe. And he made early strides in Sweden, rising from the lower divisions before arriving at top flight side Gefle before he ran into trouble with the law.
With that criminal record to his name, Bonsu is barred from Sweden for ten years but remains convinced he can still chart the path to some of the biggest leagues in Europe.
“When I was inside, I learnt to accept the fact that there is nothing I can do to change the situation so I utilized the time training and reading as much as I could,” Bonsu says
“I know and believe I can make it again. I want people to be able to look at me and say after everything he went though, he didn’t give up,” he says.
“I have learnt my lesson and as a football player, the things that I can change, I will do my best to change. That is working hard, going the extra hard to prove that whatever has happened in my past, it won’t change my future.”
Bonsu is one of two Ghanaian footballers to have fallen foul of the law in Sweden. Kingsley Sarfo, capped only last year by Ghana is in prison for having sex with a minor. The coverage in Ghana has often portrayed the players as victims caught up in a culture they don’t understand but Bonsu says it is still a great country to play football in.
“If they have to play in Sweden, they should because it is a magnificent place to develop as a footballer. I have learnt my lessons from playing there and the issues I faced. Now I am much better than the 17-year old who went there,” Bonsu said.
The rehabilitation process for Bonsu will be long as he himself says. And Kotoko offer a completely different challenge for a player who last played in the Ghana Premier League with Heart of Lions as a teenager.
“It is a long process but I want to help the club do well, win trophies and just enjoy myself playing football again.”
There was a lot of evidence last Sunday that there could be substance to that ambition.
By Michael Oti Adjei|3news.com|Ghana