Any time Benjamin Akoto Asamoah reminisces how far his career as a footballer has come, he sighs and thanks His creator for His goodness and mercies upon him. It may seem surreal but the hard core reality is, Benjamin Akoto Asamoah is plying his trade in Spain. Like any young footballer, Benjamin had always dreamt of playing in Europe. But how soon this would happen was the question he kept asking himself any time the thought of playing in Europe and etching his name in football folklore popped up. “My career as a professional footballer is one that surprises me whenever I cast my mind back. God has done it for me. I’m glad I never lost faith. I’m very happy how far I’ve come, where I am now.”
Born in Sakumono, a suburb of Tema- Ghana’s main harbour city, his talent like many Ghanaian footballers developed on the street. The quickness of mind, nimbleness of foot, the agility and perfect balance and taut which characterizes his play now was actually visible in his early years. The 22-year-old started his career as footballer with Schwepps FC, a colts club at Nungua before joining Mendasco, a division 2 side in Tema.
Benjamin was spotted by a Spanish agent after taking part in a youth tournament and that was how he found himself in Spain where he first joined Rayo Majadahonda. His blistering and impressive showings for Rayo caught the attention of the scouts of Atletico Madrid who quickly moved in to secure his service.
Early in his football career, personal problems pushed him to the brink of quitting but with a faith of a prophet and nerves of steel, he soldiered on. Ghanaians will one day be grateful that he decided to carry on because the youngster is destined for greatness.
Currently on loan at CE L’Hospitalet, Benjamin is a typical box-to-box midfielder with terrific energy. He sets a high tempo with his voracious work ethic and enthusiasm. He’s a good passer of the ball, loves shooting from long ranges and dribbles when necessary. While blessed with plenty of technical and attacking qualities, he does not eschew defensive tasks. With his permeating driving runs, slick passes and discipline, the youngster has already drawn comparison with compatriot Michael Essien.
Frankly, apart from wearing a tough resilient character, there is a spark of Michael Essien in the way he moves and what he can do with the ball. At no point in his short career has he shown any fear or doubt in his capabilities. However, to get anywhere near where the famous Ghanaian’s level, he will have to work hard and continue his development. Creative and dynamic at the same time with good ball control, he possesses all the ingredients to become a complete and quality player.
After spending 4 seasons with the youth teams of Atletico Madrid, Benjamin looks matured, adding a greater sharp physical edge and leadership quality to his burgeoning quality. “I think I’m matured now. I look fit and my knowledge, understanding and interpretation of the game and how to launch a subsequent assault response has increased.” He quipped.
Benjamin has become an integral member of Ishmael Garcia’s CE L’Hospitalet’s side making six appearances out of seven played so far and is already a fans’ favourite. “It’s not easy to just walk into any team and command a starting berth especially when the team is made of experienced players who have played in this division for years.” Having three assists with no goal since his arrival is a poor return for someone of his ability.
“It’s true I’m yet to score for my club. It is an area I’m working on, the goals will come but in the interim, the interest of the team reigns paramount.” “I need to try and help the team on and off the pitch.”
It has always been Benjamin’s dream to play for the Black Stars one day. Though, yet to be recognised by the technical handlers of the Black Stars, he believes that dream will soon come to pass.”There is no bigger honour and dream than donning the colours of your motherland and protecting ‘her’ image. It’s everything.” “I am ready to rub shoulders with the other players and pray I am granted the rare opportunity to realize my dream of playing for the Black Stars.”
Funnily enough, Benjamin Akoto Asamoah idolises Micheal Essien and hopes to emulate his good works and carve a niche for himself in association football. “Essien is my idol. I really want to be like him. A lot of people say my style is reminiscent of his and that excites me a lot. He has gone through strings of frustrating, injuries and difficult times in career but any time he makes a return onto the pitch, he reminds everyone of his quality. He was one of the best box-to-box midfielders in his generation.”
The motivated, ambitious and tenacious youngster is indeed a delight to watch and would surely be of immense help to the Black Stars as the team prepares for the World Cup qualifiers and the African Cup of Nations.