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Sports Features of Saturday, 26 March 2016


PHOTOS: Goalkeeping prodigy Corey Addai talks about Ghana commitment

Corey Addai Corey Addai

It's Saturday afternoon and Corey Addai is in relaxed mood on break after manning the bench for Coventry City in the Sky Blues's League One game on Friday evening.

The 6ft 6 tall goalkeeping prodigy moved to Coventry City from Arsenal last season and he has gatecrashed the regular squad, making seven bench appearances at the tender age of 18.

Addai was scouted by Arsenal when he was 10 years playing a Sunday league game as a makeshift goalkeeper. The agile custodian recounts his experience on how he got himself a trial opportunity from Arsenal.

The youngster talks about his passion to represent Ghana and career ambitions with's El Akyereko Frimpong.

"Well to be honest I was not really even a goalkeeper at this point in my footballing life. I used to play on pitch for a Sunday league team and it just happened to be my turn to go in goal that week I played well and there was an Arsenal scout at the game. [He] asked me to come training. I enjoyed it and then signed later on in my trial."

He youngster reveals he gleaned and harnessed his goalkeeping skills watching the feline agility of his father who played in the English non-league.

"My dad was also a goalkeeper so this helped me as I watched him from such as young age when he was playing in the non-league system here in England I picked up most of my skills from him and that's what helped me sign for Arsenal at 10 years old."

At a tender age of 18, the second-year scholar has claimed a regular spot in the Coventry City team and is firmly in command as second choice at the Ricoh Arena. The challenge of walking into a club of City's pedigree and becoming the number is huge.

"Being on the bench as a 2nd Year Scholar for any professional football club is an achievement in it self as it shows that the manager believes that I have potential and possibly good enough to come on if need be."

Addai is still on the learning skill and he is not taking anything for granted. He reveals he spends hours watching goalkeepers and how they deal with striking adversities.

"To say that I am not a pro yet and a goalkeeper is massive in England as the position requires a lot experience which I have not obtained yet and that properly the main thing so being able understand every possible attack that you could encounter but I train hard and focus on learning through watching other goalkeeper's experiences."

At Arsenal, the youngster took giants strides to highlight his potentials. His exploits at the London giants includes producing extraordinary saves to help the young Gunners win the Premier League tournament.

"The highs I had at arsenal where training most nights with quality players. This helped me progress at a faster rate as I was able to train as the highest level at my age. The next moment I had at Arsenal was winning the Premier League tournament where I saved a few pens to win us the cup."

So how did leaving Arsenal feel for the young goalkeeper who had spent close to seven seasons at the club.

"I was disappointed as I had been at the club for 6 years which is a long time where I made some good friends and met people who I enjoyed working with."

But he draws positives from exiting the Emirates Stadium for playing opportunities else.

"But I think this was the best thing for my career [because] as a young goalkeeper I knew deep down I was most likely never going to play for Arsenal's first team at 20 or 21 so I believe this has helped me progress into a better keeper being at a smaller club and being closer to the first team and now i am 18 on the bench i cant really complain."

While pursuing his career dreams, Addai is not interested in looking up to any goalkeeper but himself and his potentials though he doesn't hide his admiration for Gigi Buffon.

"There are many great goalkeepers in the world but I don't look up to anyone other than myself. I look up to the potential I have and I use that to make sure that I reach that goal and make sure I am one of the world's best when I get older. But if you asked me who the best goalkeeper in the world is it would be Buffon."

He explains his why his father couldn't climb up the ladder to the top of football's echelons and his adopted career after playing football.

"Unfortunately my dad was not a pro due to injury so that stopped him reaching the top level in England but he still played a high level in the semi-professional set up in England which he still holds a good name for himself where he now coaches young goalkeepers who try and get into clubs in England. He is also the goalkeeper coach for a semi-professional side in London where I am from."

Attention shifts back to Coventry City and making an appearance in the League and Addai clearly knows what he wants to go for.

"My ambitions for the rest of the season a Coventry it so keep progressing and improving my skills in goal. The clubs ambition is to get to the next league which is the championship so i will give my best to help the club get there in training and if I am needed in a match I will try my hardest to help the team."

Born in England Addai can choose to represent the Three Lions but he is yet to consider the opportunity. His mother is from Jamaica and his father from Ghana. The young goalkeeper reveals he made a vow to his grandfather to play for Ghana before he passed away and he is not ready to go back to that promise.

"I have not played for any international teams but if I was to choose a side to play for it would be Ghana."

"Well my granddad was originally from Ghana. Unfortunately he passed away a few years back when I was 6. I made a promise to him that I would play for Ghana if I was to play football as a professional before he died so I would never go back on my promise. I have been in Ghana once as a little boy for his funeral and I enjoyed the experience very much I still remember most of the trip very clearly."

The youngster outlines his career ambitions before laughing off to end the session.

"My total career ambitions are to play as the highest possible level so Champions League and in the Premier League or another massive league in Europe. I also have the dream if playing in the World Cup for Ghana and winning the tournament that would be my biggest dream as it will make my granddad proud."