For the first time in Ghana’s soccer history, three US-based Ghanaian players have been invited for national duty at different levels in what is regarded as a validation of American soccer quality.
They are in the provisional squads of two Africa cup campaigns coming off in January and March respectively .
Houston Dynamo’s celebrated Black Stars defender Samuel Inkoom and Chicago Fire striker David Accam will vie for jerseys in the final squad to represent Ghana at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea next month. And young George Washington University soccer talent Koby Osei -Wusu hunts for a place in the Black Satellites final squad for the African Under 20s Championship in Senegal .
While Accam is already in town , Inkoom and Koby breeze into town Thursday (January 31), carrying a cargo of optimism about US soccer .
With Inkoom in particular his New Year message for Ghanaians is : whatever you thought about the Major League Soccer (MLS), think again.
In September, Inkoom became the biggest Ghanaian soccer ambassador in America with global name recognition and clout when he moved from European club Platanias on free transfer to join DC United and provided some good assists .Early this month, December 8, he was on the move again traded to Houston Dynamo where he hopes to replicate the DC success and continue as proud envoy of Ghana soccer .
After the stint with DC United, Inkoom says he can authoritatively report back home to Ghanaians that they have all along carried an erroneous impression about the quality of American league. HE said and its time to drop the low esteem tag for Yankee soccer for good.
“We need a renewal of our mindset. It’s a fallacy that the MLS is a substandard league. We have all made a big mistake for the low esteem we have accorded it all along”, he stated .
He said he had other offers in Europe but chose America to explore a new soccer frontier and create awareness in Ghana.
“The quality of the league has vastly improved compared to years ago. Right now, it attracts experienced players from all over the world, I mean players at their peak ready to explore new soccer frontier like me and live their American soccer dream. This is unlike previously when the MLS was the vacation destination for players at the twilight of their careers.I can confidently say that the standard is somehow comparable to any league in Europe.”
The defender reveled that the quality of the MLS manifests in the excellent performance of the US Men’s national soccer team .
” The Americans used MLS players to beat us at the World Cup in Brazil. They always give us a tough time so I told myself there must be something special about the MLS where most of the players are recruited from. I’m happy to have come here to experience at first hand why the USMNT are our bogey side . The players get quality playing time and are very professional like any European side ” , stated the right wing defender .
He said from his observation Americans too, have fallen in love with Ghana soccer and thus , the coming years will see more Ghanaian players recruited by MLS clubs. .
Even though Europe and Asia are traditionally the destination of choice for most African soccer adventurers , he said America has emerged as a new opportunity.
Ever since he moved to the MLS , he has been joined by two other national team colleagues , short stopper Adam Kwarasey who moved from Norwegian side Stromogast to Portland Fire and striker David Accam from Swedish side Helsingborg ..
The defender is happy to get a call up into the national team after a brief break. “Its always great to get a chance to serve Ghana and I’ll not disappoint the trust reposed in me by coach Avram Grant ” stated Inkoom who made his debut for the national team in 2008 after rising through the juvenile ranks.
On expectations at the Africa Cup ,he stated that pressure is on the team to excel to compensate for the unfortunate World Cup fiasco in Brazil and called for total focus . ” the world is watching us. We need total focus ,
“We have to do our best to erase the disappointment in Brazil and please our fans .. I’ll appeal to our fans to give us maximum support . Without them , we are nothing so they must not abandon us “, stated .
With 19 year old Koby , his mission is to endear himself to the technical team and thus open a door of opportunity for other talented young players eager for similar national recognition.