Shamo Quaye did ‘unthinkable’ things – Sam Johnson
It has been over two decades since mercurial Ghana international, Shamo Quaye passed away under bizarre circumstances, but the legacy and magical football prowess of the former Hearts of Oak midfielder is one that is continually told when the topic of who is the most talented player in the history of Hearts of Oak comes up for discussion.
Fondly called "Shamo leather" or ‘Shamo Wonder’, because of the way he caressed the ball, Shamo Quaye died in 1997 after he returned home to Ghana during the Christmas holidays.
The circumstances surrounding his death remains a mystery and even though many theories of how he was bitten by a snake at home have been bandied around, his family has always denied that the player died as a result of a snake-bite.
Other theories and assertions claim that because of his talent and rising fame and fortune, Shamo Quaye had become the envy of many of his peers, who orchestrated moves to end his life.
Quaye burst onto the scene while still in his teens, as part of the fresh set-up that emerged from Hearts' youth team and which would be affectionately identified by the club's rank and file as the 'Musical Youth'.
Together with the likes of Sam Ablade Kumah, Ezekiel Alamu, Joe Addo and Eben Dugbartey, Quaye helped form the nucleus of a side that would repay the confidence of then Hearts capo Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe (who had dared taken the gamble of literally effacing the Phobians' ageing and under-performing veterans, raising in their place a bunch of unproven youngsters) several times over.
Oh, and they thrilled the fans as well!
Sam Johnson was part of the older generation at Hearts of Oak at the time, and in a somber and reflective mood, he recalled with nostalgia the immense talents of Shama Quaye.
Asked if ‘Shamo Wonder’ was as good as people claim, he said “ You know, Shamo is, hmmm, wow. You can’t predict him. Look, Shamo never did normal things in football. He always did things that would baffle your mind, things you have no idea he could do. He was a different breed of a footballer. Things that you don’t expect in football, Shamo will do it. He was very good”.
Truly, there are some who become far bigger in death that they were while alive. In Shamo Quaye's case, he has indeed grown larger-than-life.
The celebrated National star was a member of the Men's National team that won the bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
Shamo Quaye also played for Saudi Club Al-Qadisiyah and Umeå in Sweden.