Legendary Kotoko player Malik Jabir has in a tribute revealed how a young Opoku Afriyie caught the eyes of the club’s coaches and players with his instinctive goalscoring abilities.
Afriyie played for the Porcupine Warriors where he made his name as one of the deadliest strikers in Ghana football.
On Sunday, the sad news of his demise swept across the football space, deepening the sorrows of Ghanaians who are already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with www.ghanaweb.com Malik Jabir narrated how Opoku Afriyie was spotted among a fleet of talents and how his discipline and hardwork propelled him to higher heights and made him fans’ favourite.
He recounted that Opoku Afriyie was playing for a colts club in Kumasi where he was spotted by the handlers of Kotoko’s feeder club Anokye Stars.
He added that, after joining the youth side of the club, Afriyie quickly established himself as a natural and was soon rubbing shoulders with members of the first team.
“We had u-10, u-12, u-15 and u-17 who played their own league. The youth teams were camped at the same place and they had their park a few metres away from us so on matchdays we used to go there and watch them. We will watch till it gets to 11 then we go for lunch and dress up for our game”.
“That’s where we realized that some of the young players were very good and Opoku was one of them. So when he got to the u-17 stage we picked him and when he came he was very good. He was good at scoring goals even at a young age. He was a typical number 9 like Gerd Muller of Germany”.
“I played with him for two years and he was terrific. I was his senior but he was a very determined guy. All he cared about was his football. He was a no-nonensense guy who did not like fighting. He was a team player and a very good person”.
Opoku Afriyie also played for Kotoko’s bitterest rivals Accra Hearts of Oak.
With the national team, Afriyie won two Africa Cup titles and was instrumental in the 1978 final where he bagged two goals in the final.