There is this belief that journalists wax lyrical albeit one or few good displays of footballers but the performances exhibited by Accra Hearts of Oaks’s Winful Cobbina will certainly jolt many a Ghanaian football bigot out of that belief thus making it a misnomer.
Since making a return to the camp of the Phobians, the skillful Cobbinah has become not only the toast of his club’s followers but the Ghanaian football family in general. It is no fluke that he goes by the moniker ‘Livewire’ by the club’s teeming fans who witnessed his heroics during his first stint with the Accra based club.
Born in Accra and having played for lower tier sides, BT Professionals, Starke Professionals and Tudu Mighty Jets, it didn’t take long for his talent to be spotted by the scouts of giants Accra Hearts of Oak where he began his play-for-pay career in the 2012/13 season. “Playing for Hearts was a dream-come-true because it isn’t easy for a young chap to be recognised by a big club like Hearts of Oak early on in his career. My first season with Hearts during my first spell wasn’t easy though but it was worth it.” He recalled.
Cobbinah went ahead to become one of Hearts’ best players the following season (2013/14) and ended the season as club’s joint top scorer with six goals. In the said season, his displays earned him so many admirers in the country because he made football look so easy and was already drawing comparisons with club and Ghanaian legend Mohammed Polo.
After a sterling season, Cobbinah joined the bandwagon by signing for a Saudi Arabian side Najran FC- a move many couldn’t comprehend considering the immense talent Cobbinah possessed,Europe but not Asia should be his destination they thought. “I know my move to Najran FC wasn’t welcome by a lot of Ghanaians but I don’t regret making that move because I saw it as an opportunity to learn and I did learn.” After two seasons with the Saudi club, things didn’t go as expected and Cobbinah had to terminate his contract due a breach in the contract by his employers.The only option left was to return home and relaunch his career-a decision that seem to have worked to perfection but wasn’t rosy though. He signed for the Phobians on his return to the country. His return delighted the fans of the club, who then, grew expecting a level of entertainment, something the club was bereft of.
After signing for Accra Hearts of Oak, he still could not find himself in the good books of coach Frank Nuttal- this decision by the coach to sideline a talented footballer like Cobbinah caused a lot of chuntering among the followers of the club especially those privy to his proclivity. Finally, Cobbinah had a taste of the premier league after his return in the week six of the championship. His appearance wasn’t a flash in the pan either. His deft touches, passes and dribbles made him the hero of the day even though his club narrowly lost to Brekum Chelsea and has since been one of the best in the league. Such a thrilling player to watch, he was always going to be a crowd-pleaser provided there was an end product. Two goals with six assists in nine games are remarkable statistics for an attacking midfielder. Hearts of Oak’s sudden resurgence in the league could largely be attributed to him.
The 25-year-old has already earned a place in the local contingent of the Black Stars and is tipped to find his way into the mainstream Black Stars within the shortest possible time. “My status has changed now. Before I was an amateur,” explained Cobbinah who is knocking on the doors of the mainstream Black Stars team. “I am more matured now and ready to represent Ghana at the highest level.”
The uncanny control and whiplash elasticity, the surging, darting dribbles, his curves and straights, the way he passes the ball at strange and unexpected angles corroborates how talented he is. With his presence, some of his teammates who were previously calumniated for abysmal performances have now found their rhythms and have calmly won the love of their fans now. He is a like a chess master, seeing several moves ahead, switching his pieces around the board to produce an irresistible,flowing geometry.
Like any other footballer, he aspires to play to the highest level and rub shoulders with the established names. “I believe I have the quality to play and excel in Europe.It won’t be easy but I won’t stop believing.” He told Ghanafans.com.
Comparisons with Mohammed Polo are flattering, and it’s up to him to prove that the pundits are right. ‘Winful the livewire’ Cobbinah has a lot under his sleeves to deliver but must guard against complacency to reach the highest echelon of association football.