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Kevin-Prince Boateng’s decision to retire from playing for the Ghana Blackstars at the age of 24 should not come as a surprise at all. Between 2004 and 2011, he has moved from club to club. Some of the clubs he has played for in Europe include Hertha BSC of Germany, Tottenham of England, Borussia Dortmund of Germany, Portsmouth of England and now AC Milan of Italy.
Apart from his initial playing time with Hertha BSC of Germany, Boateng consistently warmed the bench at Tottenham; he actually played only fourteen games for Tottenham. He was basically reduced to a second tier player. His move to Portsmouth to re-launch his career did not go as he expected, he eventually led Portsmouth to relegation from the English Premier League.
Knowing that Germany was not going to give him an opportunity to represent Germany at the 2010 World Cup, he was quoted on 24 June 2009 for saying “due to the lack of future chances to earn a call up for his home country, he will play for Ghana in the future and that he had hoped to be part of the Ghana national team squad at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.” He simply begged Ghana for a chance.
The quote above explains why Ghanaians should not be surprised about his decision to quit playing for Ghana. Having failed to represent his first choice Country, Germany at the World Cup, he opportunistically used Ghana to re-launch he career by playing at the World Cup. His football career was basically not going anywhere until Ghana gave him the opportunity to play at the 2010 World Cup. He succeeded in marketing himself at the world stage in the colours of the Blackstars of Ghana, which eventually led to his moneymaking move to a top level club such as AC Milan of Italy.
Since moving to AC Milan, Boateng has been a regular player for AC Milan, and have gone on to win the Italian Serie- A, and the Supercoppa Italiana cups. He also got the opportunity to represent AC Milan at the UEFA Champions League. Everything seems to be going well at AC Milan for Boateng, hence, one will not be surprised if Ghanaians refer to Boateng as an opportunist for abandoning Ghana, a country that gave him the opportunity to re-launch his career at the prestigious world stage at the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
I however believe strongly that Boateng’s decision is not only opportunistic, but also because he simply can’t compete with the current long list of Ghana midfielders in the Blackstars. Some of such midfielders include, Andre Ayew, Anthony Annan, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Kwadwo Asamoah, Jordan Ayew, Agyeman Badu and Emmanual Frimpong of Arsenal who just announced his interest to join the competition for a position at the Ghana midfield. Kevin-Price Boateng is currently being treated like a king at AC Milan, but knows very well that he simply cannot compete with the current long list of Ghanaian midfielders period. It is the dream of every football player to play as long as possible for his club and country. Great players such as George Opong Weah of Liberia, George Best of Ireland, Bernd Schuster of Germany, Eric Cantona of France, and Abedi Pele, Tony Yeboah and Tony Barfour of Ghana are among the long list of great players who never got the opportunity to represent their country at the World Cup.
These great players would have loved to play at the World Cup as many times as possible. I am sure these great players will consider Boateng’s decision to retire from International football at a time when Ghana is on top of African football and at his current age of 24 a huge mistake. However, I will not be surprised to see Kevin-Prince Boateng announce his return to International football again when his club returns him back to the role of a bench warmer.
BY: Nick Amuna
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