Meet Ghana’s Diego Simeone: The 29-year-old using football to project Bolgatanga

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Wed, 11 Sep 2019 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

”He is like Diego Simeone” a fan shouted after the coach let out another loud scream to spur on his players who were down by a goal and had few minutes to clock an equalizer.

The comparison by the fan is not far-fetched. On the touchline, he is an eccentric and explosive character but away from the pitch, he is a collected and reserved personality who plays the triple role of a club owner, coach and a ‘big brother’ to his players.

Diego Simeone rakes in a staggering 41.2 million euros in salaries which best explains his rather unconventional antics on the touchline but Nicholas Ayidah Ayine’s motivation is fueled by his innate love for colts football and his determination to use football to shed a positive light on his beloved Bolgatanga town.

He is the coach and owner of Bolga Socca Masters, a position he has held since he decided in 2006 to channel his disappointment of failing at the game into discovering and refining talents from that part of the country.

As an unemployed SHS leaver with zero financial assistance from anyone, Ayine has had to rely on gains from petty jobs to fund activities of the club but he is not allowing the challenges to deter him from his ambition.

“Funding this club is very difficult because it’s a club owned by me and I’m the coach. As you can see here I’m the only one who does everything. Financially things are always difficult because I don’t work with the government and have to rely on voluntary works that come my way”.

“I played colts football and stopped at a certain point because I felt the opportunities were not forthcoming. After completing my SHS I decided to look at the past and see what we can do differently so since 2007 that I have been in juvenile football with some of my colleagues and we’ve been able to project the region to greater heights.

Thirteen years on from its establishment, Bolga Socca Masters are yet to trade players whose proceeds they could inject into the club and elevate it to another level but Ayine remains optimistic that ‘money will flow soon’.

“I have a boy who made it through Right to Dream and is in the USA schooling and playing football. I have two in Portugal and one also in Germany and these are amateurs so the support can’t come from them but I believe things will get better soon”.

For the second time, Ayine is leading his team into the BabyJet under-16 tournament with a target of winning the ultimate and then exposing his players to the scouts and coaches present to recruit Ghana’s next footballing star for their club.

Their first game ended in a painful 1-0 defeat to Accra-based Desideros FC but Ayine is optimistic of his team’s chances in the competition.

“We lost a bit of concentration and we were punished for it. There are still two games for me to play and for sure we are not intimidated by the status of the other clubs and against Cheetah FC tomorrow we will go for all the points, nothing more nothing less”.

Speaking of the importance of colts football and tournaments such as the BabyJet u-16 tournament, Ayine said “What kids (in Accra) get we can equally get them but I believe that what we lack is exposure. Like the edifice we have here, you can’t get it in the Upper East. The scout when they come, this is the capital and this is the point so it is difficult for them to see talents outside Accra that’s why we’ve taken up the challenge of sending these boys to tournaments”, he said.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com