Tuesday’s training session featured a very special visitor. Good friend of United Through Sport Ghana and Swedish Premier League star, Thomas Boakye, came down to Presby Park to speak and offer inspiration to our boys. Thomas’ team, Östersunds FK gained promotion to the Swedish Premier League (known as the ‘Allsvenskan’) as Champions this season thanks to a dramatic winner from the 19 year old Ghanaian wing back.
Kumasi born Boakye is back in Ghana due to the the Swedish end of season hiatus. With temperatures in the north of Sweden around 45°C colder than the December weather in Ghana, Boakye admits he is happy to be back after a very successful first season as a professional:
“It’s great to be back, but I am not going to pretend I don’t miss playing already!”
The message Boakye conveyed to our teams centred on the importance of hard work, both at training and in school. Thomas left his family in the Ashanti region aged just 10 to move to the prestigious Right To Dream football academy based in Akosombo, at the bottom of Lake Volta in the East of Ghana. Boakye’s dedication on the training field and in the classroom earned him a scholarship at the prestigious Hartbury Sports College in Gloucester, Western England.
During his time in England, Boakye represented England at Under 18 and 19 levels whilst playing for Non-League Forest Green Rovers and attaining a first class education that would prepare him for success in case his career in football did not materialise.
The importance of education and attitude was something Boakye was keen to emphasise to our boys. The Ghana Under 20 star urged our teams to capitalise on the extra lessons offered by United Through Sport volunteers at the School of Excellence every day before giving their all at their evening training sessions to improve their skills and fitness.
Boakye answered questions from our players on subjects ranging from his football heroes, life as a professional footballer and his remaining career aspirations.
Whilst the 2013 African Cup of Nations due to be held in South Africa next month may have come a little too soon for a senior call up to the full Ghana squad, Boakye has set his sights on impressing in his second International Under 20 tournament when Algeria hosts the African U20 Championship in March.
Thomas and other young Ghanaian footballers only have to look at the example set by fellow Right To Dream graduate, Abdul Waris. The young striker top scored in the Swedish Premier League last season and earned himself a lucrative move to Spartak Moscow. Spartak featured in this years’ UEFA Champions League playing against 3 past winners of the tournament in Celtic, Barcelona and Benfica. Domestically, Waris has not escaped attention as he looks set to be named in the Black Stars AFCON squad after starting the most recent friendly win over the Cape Verde Islands.
Here at United Through Sport Ghana we would like to thank Thomas Boakye for taking the time to offer our players advice and inspiration. He insisted the players should always show maximum respect for the coaches who spend vast periods of their free time to train our teams without asking for anything in return. We hope that both Boakye and United Through Sport can build on successful first seasons.