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Rahman: From Ghana’s dusty pitches to Leicester’s green pitches – Daniel Amartey’s story

The Ghanaian contingent in the English Premier League keeps growing, and young defender Daniel Amartey is the latest addition to the world’s most watched league.

The young man from Teshi [A suburb in Accra the capital of Ghana] who gave up schooling to pursue a career in football is the latest to join the growing Ghanaian players in Leicester [Jeffrey Schlupp and Joe Dodoo already with the foxes].

 Amartey’s story and journey to the very top in world football is  a classical story of, “from grass to grace” for the youngster who was playing in the 2nd tier of Ghana football just four years ago for International Allies. His story will move a lot and inspire the millions of talents in Ghana who wake up at dawn to train with strong passion and conviction that they will one day realize their dreams of playing professional football.

While playing at International Allies in the division 2 league, then only 17, was privileged to be among the selected few who pleased the technical eye of current Estonia coach Magnus Pehrsson, who signed him for Swedish club Djurgarden in 2013 after a scouting trip to Africa.

Daniel Amartey Scores But Djurgarden Lose Swedish Cup Final

Daniel Amartey Scores But Djurgarden Lose Swedish Cup Final

At Djurgarden he did everything to justify the decision of Magnus Pehrsson who had hope and belief in the tiny young man from Ghana. Having arrived in Sweden, Amartey was placed in the U-21 team and just three months after that, his performance had merited a senior team opportunity which he grabbed with two hands. He gained admiration from the local media in Sweden.

Daniel Amartey started his career with the Swedish side Djurgarden before moving to Denmark in 2014. Photograph: Lars Ronbog/FrontzoneSport via Getty Images

      Daniel Amartey started his career with the Swedish side Djurgarden before moving to Denmark in                              2014. Photograph: Lars Ronbog/FrontzoneSport via Getty Images

His performance did not go unnoticed, he earned interest from clubs across Europe including big boy Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers. A move to England did not materialize at that time but it was just a matter of time.

Amartey ended up moving to another modest league, signing for Danish giant FC Copenhagen in 2014.

The ever focused youngster did not let the disappointment of failing to sign for Liverpool deter him, taking the opportunity at Copenhagen to further develop his career to be matured enough for an elite league in future.

They say every disappointment is a blessing in disguise and while in Denmark, newly appointed Black Stars coach Avram Grant was monitoring his performance and named him in the 2015 Africa Cup of nations team in Equatorial Guinea. That call up proved the golden opportunity for the defender after he impressed in all the games he played in.

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                    Amartey playing for the Black Stars against Senegal in the AFCON 2015

An injury in the third group game against South Africa relegated him to the bench in the knockout stages as Ghana went all the way to the final, only to lose to Ivory Coast. He is now a main stay in the national team.

 In just two and a half games Amartey had given Avram Grant enough reason to make him a core member of the Black Stars. 

The calm and pacey defender is on the verge of moving to the most popular league in the world, and will be joining no mean side than the current joint leaders Leicester City, coached by the much traveled grey-haired Claudio Raneiri.

So after just four years of saying good bye to his dad, a taxi driver in Teshi in Accra and promising to return as a global super star, he has made his family proud.

How will he cope in England?

The versatile Amartey will be a valuable addition to the Leicester team in their surprised challenge for the league title. Even though he is a centre back, he can play across the defense; right or left back and in midfield too. This makes him a very important signing who can cover in for injured and tired legs when need be.

He will have international team mate Jeffrey Schlupp to help him settle in the ever-demanding environment.

The success story of Amartey is an inspiration for young players sweating in the heat across the nook and cranny of Ghana, trying to make it big. He has proven that you don’t necessarily need to be in the Ghana Premier League to make it to Europe. That you don’t necessarily need to be part of any junior national team to get the attention of European scouts. 

By: Rahman Osman/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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