Maxwell Abbey Quaye: GPL’s unsung hero and Olympics crown jewel

Maxwell Abbey Quaye

As Maxwell Abbey Quaye wheeled away, he ran behind the goal post. Hands crossed on his chest in a Wakanda style celebration and then looking into the crowd at the Accra Sports Stadium in a gesture that suggested that he wanted Hearts fans silent.

He had just planted a header into the roof of the net via a vicious bounce right in front of the goalkeeper, Richard Attah who was left sprawling in his goal area.

The Olympics buildup was good. Michel Otou had been the mastermind for them in midfield in a game their talisman Gladson Awako had gone silent for long stretches. Otou moved the ball to the far side to Kwabena Boateng who fumbled, gave the ball away to Ovouka, the Hearts’ left-back whose mistake gave the ball back to Boateng.

Boateng delivered the cross but, as the ball floated mid-air, it was Abbeyquaye’s movement that made the goal.

He moved past Fatawu and Patrick Razak with ease and the ball hit the nylon net. Oly fans in delirium. Gratification earned.

Olympics had it coming and if anyone had to score, it had to Maxwell Abbeyquaye. The Accra club’s top marksman started off as a goalkeeper. In his early years as a player, he was a goalkeeper for Sporting Mirren football club in Accra where he honed his skills.

Later in his career, he decided to change his position and play in attack in a bid to use his intuitive skill as a goalkeeper to outwit the goalkeepers he plays against.

“I started off very young. My father who had played football before me didn’t like the idea. He wanted me to study but my mind was made up”. Maxwell told me in an interview at the Olympics training facility in Labadi.

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Abbey Quaye’s younger brother, Samuel Ashie-Quaye has a front-row seat to his brother’s successes. Ashie also plays for Olympics and has incredibly impressed since he joined the fold this season. In a game against Legon Cities football club in the first round of the campaign, they both scored.

In their words, it was one of the best moments in their careers “When we got home that night, our parents were waiting to congratulate us. My dad especially. It is just a matter of time before we do more and put smiles on their faces”. Maxwell said.

Maxwell comes from a football family. His father played in his heyday but, could not cut it at the top as his boys are doing. The brothers are on a mission to keep their names in the minds of many Ghanaian football fans – this season has been a good start. 

Olympics are a compact side – very unassuming. The Dade Boys came into the league via a congress decision by the Ghana Football Association. A decision that prompted the expansion of the Ghana League from 16 teams to 18 in order to accommodate Accra Great Olympics and Kumasi King Faisal.

The former has been in great form. Picking points, good players, in the top 4 with 6 games to go, and many, many points away from the relegation places.

A lot of the good work should be attributed to their coach, Annor Walker. He has held the team together and every game has been an improvement on the other.

In many stages this year, they have shown their sheer resilience to win games. The level of tenacity, mental toughness, and general fitness have been colourful feathers in the coach’s cap. Their star man though has undoubtedly been Gladson Awako – and if Awako is throwing a party, Maxwell Abbeyquaye will definitely be on the guest list.

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Awako may be the one conducting the Olympics orchestra but Maxwell is the man on the violins – making sure that every sound that rings out has rhythm and is appealing to the ear.

Abbeyquaye has 9 goals to his name this term. 7 shy of leader Diawiase Taylor. With 6 games to go, it is almost impossible to hit that mark but he will look back on this season no matter where Olympics finish and know that it has been a breakthrough year.

In professional terms, they always ask to bid your time. Maxwell has – right from his junior teams on the streets of Labadi to Sporting Mirren and then now at Olympics. There’s a light finally at the tunnel’s end and he can crack a smile while groping through the dark.

Source: Yaw Ofosu Larbi||Ghana