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From Obscurity to Stardom: Emmanuel Yeboah’s Meteoric Rise From The Street of Duayaw Nkwanta to Romania

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On a hot, sunny afternoon in Accra Central, Black Meteors and CFR Cluj striker, Emmanuel Yeboah is talking about life and football, the beautiful game, family and everything that goes with it, including being the bedrock of his bloodline.

In a calm but witty tone, he talks about transitioning from Young Apostles and his journey to Romania and the dream of playing in the Camp Nou for FC Barcelona.

I sat in the hotel lobby of Accra City Hotel, waiting to have a chat with the fast-rising star, Emmanuel Yeboah days before the Black Meteors of Ghana flew to Algeria for the first-leg of the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. The Meteors would eventually draw the game 1-1 and return to Kumasi to book a place in the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations via a 1-0 win.

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Emmanuel Yeboah

In patience, I waited and then I decided to take a walk which led me straight to the CFR Cluj first team striker.

His appearance would quickly tell anyone that he was a goal scorer; tall and sturdy and if you needed a good reference, just imagine a player with Didier Drogba’s solid frame and the height of Victor Osimhen.

As first impressions go, he did make a good one, of all his attributes on the field of play. Off the pitch, he is likeable and has great sense of humour. I was impressed and he felt at home with me as we sat in the cafeteria at the Accra City Hotel to have the conversation.

From a small town called Duayaw Nkwanta in the Ahafo Region to the ancient city of Cluj-Napoca, the name Emmanuel Yeboah resonates well with fans and football fanatics in those places.

Standing at 1.88m and at the age of 20, the young boisterous man has had one heck of a season with the Romanian giants, Cluj making his way into Dan Petrescu’s first team.

From oblivion straight to playing in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Conference League, the story and growth of Yeboah has been nothing short of a ‘miracle’.

“The day I heard I was going to sign for Club Cluj, I couldn’t not sleep. It was not easy for me because I wanted to travel to Europe and play for a club as big as that but the dream does not stop there, I want to follow in the footsteps of Victor Osimhen,” he said brimming with smiles.

However, before moving to Cluj in Romania, he was with a Division One League side, Young Apostles which is backed by GFA Executive Committee member, Samuel Anim Addo, his godfather and the man to give him his first taste of the real spotlight. Anim Addo really knows how to groom stars and he hopes Yeboah will become one in the near future.

In Ghana football, the most difficult zone to play in and qualify to the Premier League is perhaps the Division One League, Zone One and to Yeboah, the division shaped him into the striker he is today.

“It is very difficult to play in Division One, Zone One. It is chaotic there and it is complete mayhem. On and off the pitch, it is difficult. Imagine after a game, you meet someone in town and because you scored against his or her team, they begin to fight you. Tough place, that is, no chance.”

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To play in Zone One, it is tough and that has made me who I am because it is different from what I see in Club Cluj. In Cluj, you have the liberty to do as you like, you treated as a professional and your success or failure is solely on you but at Young Apostles, playing in Zone One, you have to fight and that is why I am who I am now.”

With ten goals in sixteen games for Young Apostles in the 2021-2022 Division One League season, he moved straight to Club Cluj after signing on with Arthur Legacy Sports led by Ghana’s finest football agent, Oliver Arthur.

He was initially signed to the reserves team of Club Cluj but he made a big impression on the legendary Romanian footballer now coach, Dan Petrescu and was promoted to the first team and made his debut for CFR Cluj in a 1-0 win over FC Rapid 1923 in the Super Liga.

After being benched for the next two games he scored his debut goal for CFR Club against AFC Chindia Targoviste with a beautiful overhead kick but after the hour mark, he got sent off.

Not a bad start to life in Romania, isn’t it? To score on your second start and get sent off after, is some impression to make.

The story got better for Emmanuel Yeboah after serving his suspension and getting dropped by Petrescu. He returned with a goal and assist against FC Voluntari and that fetched him some adulation from the fans.

“Scoring for Cluj was something special and to score a goal that gets you compared to Messi brings an amazing feeling but hey, Messi is the god of football. However, I am glad I was able to score and help the team win,” he said.

After an impressive first stint with in Romania with CFR Cluj, Emmanuel Yeboah earned the right to be named in Ibrahim Tanko’s team that has secured qualification to the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations to take place in Morocco in June of 2023.

However, before this call-up, he had not had prior experience with any of the junior national teams and that to him, is because he was playing in a lower division meaning that he was not on the radar of the national team selectors.

“As you know, I was with New Vision, played for Duayaw Nkwanta FC before moving to Young Apostles but now I play in Europe. I have tasted all the elite European competitions and so I think I have now earned my place. You don’t get noticed in the lower ranks but now, I have a tough mentality to play for Ghana and for that, I am glad to be part of this team and help the team qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris.”

Just like every other youngster, Emmanuel Yeboah models his game around a football icon and for this 20-year-old, he is in awe of Ghana’s very own Asamoah Gyan and FC Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski.

To him, these two are the most complete strikers he has ever seen and he seeks to achieve more than what they both achieved for club and country.

“I like their style and they always want to register a goal that is why I model my game around them because they have achieved a lot”.

Everyone has a dream they want to some come true and for this youngster, his is to play for FC Barcelona and follow in the footsteps of his role model, Lewandowski.

Emmanuel Yeboah has taken the baby steps in his bid to become a great football star and his ultimate dream is “to be the greatest striker that ever lived”.

Source: Bernard Osei –

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