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Sports News of Saturday, 14 November 2015

Source: PLAN Communications

Raphael Obeng steps up football career

Raphael Kwaku Obeng in action Raphael Kwaku Obeng in action

A former Heart Of Oak; Medeama SC and 11 Wise player, Raphael Kwaku Obeng is set to step onto a higher stage as far as his football career is concerned.
The player who returned from Progresso Associacao do Sambizanga (PAS), an Angolan club in June this year, is making the necessary arrangements to go to either Egypt or Malaysia to be signed onto a new club.

“My manager, Mr. Douglas Owusu Appau and I are still considering the three clubs. We are weighing all options to see which one would bring mutual benefit to me as well as the club itself,” Raphael disclosed.
He is a good striker, and is remembered for Accra Heart of Oak winning the Premier League title in 2008/2009, a club he played for about two years and scored 6 goals in all.

Between 2010 and 2011, Raphael scored a total of 8 goals for Medeama Soccer Club. He also played for Berekum Arsenal, Nania FC, Avengers FC and others.
He has set a target of 16 goals for his new team which is likely to be in Egypt, he hinted; hoping that the new team would be a stepping stone for him to boost his dream of playing in Europe someday, as has been the target of most, if not all footballers.

Raphael Kwaku Obeng called on the Ghana Football Association to do more work in marketing the local leagues to make them attractive; appealing to the GFA to pay the Ghanaian players well.
Meanwhile, Raphael says he is opened to any good local club here in Ghana which would need his service as a striker.

Read Raphael Kwaku Obeng’s Personality Profile Below:


Many football lovers would still have a vivid picture of this player playing selflessly on the field. Especially those football fans of Accra Hearts of Oak, Medeama FC, 11 Wise, and Nania FC, would be wondering the where about of Raphael Kwaku Obeng, others may be wondering how far he has taken his football career, and still others would want to know which teams he had associated with so far.

Football lovers would remember the hay days of local leagues here in Ghana, when matches between football clubs such as Accra Heart of Oak, 11 Wise, Liberty Professionals, Asante Kotoko, Berekum Arsenal and others were much sought-after and patronized games.

One of such fierce match was that between Accra Hearts of Oak and 11 Wise in Sekondi in 2009. Then a number 12 player for 11 Wise FC, Raphael Obeng managed to score a lone goal against Accra Hearts of Oak. His team won that match against Hearts of Oak great players including Kofi Abanga, Dan Quaye, Aja Tetteh, Saani Mohammed and the likes.

Well... Raphael is still right in his football career, and has chalked some appreciable success but on the quite side, having played with some local and international football clubs. He is poised for an elevation in his career in the next few weeks.

Career beginning

Raphael Kwaku Obeng started his football career at a tender age of 13 years when he was in Junior High School in Dambai, Volta Region, where he was born and raised by a blacksmith father and a mother who was a trader.

As the 11th child of 12 children, Raphael had siblings who were all playing football mostly for pleasure. “Even my female siblings were all playing football at a time, my family was a football family. Right from my eldest brother down to the youngest sister, we all played football,” he says.

Because of his keen interest in playing and watching football matches, he carried his elder brothers’ playing boots and jerseys to the field anytime they were going to play a football match. One of his brothers, who was then the captain for Avengers FC in Dambai, would introduce him (Raphael) into the game when it was about 30 or 20 minutes to end it. He played skilfully to the admiration of all, and from thereon, he was made to start the match and played for the full 90 minutes.

Road to career advancement and challenges

Raphael joined the Kpando Technical Institute (Kpantech) in 2003 to further his education at the senior high school level. He joined the school’s football team in his first year.

During an inter-zonals competition between senior high schools in the Volta Region in which Kpantec was participating, the then manager of Kpando Hearts of Lions, Mr. J.E. Sarpong, spotted Raphael and his exceptional play. There and then, Coach Sarpong expressed interest in signing him (Ralph) onto his football club, Kpando Hearts of Lion. However, Raphael and his elderly brothers objected to the offer, but agreed that he could only join the club on completion of senior high school. And to enhance contact between the two, Coach Sarpong made sure that he invited Ralph to training anytime his team was in the Volta Region.

In the second and third year of his stay in school, Ralph captained the Kpantech school team and won the admiration of management, staff and students of the school. While still in school, he came into contact with the management of Nania FC through the then secretary for FC Nania, Francis Arthur, and at a point, the management of the club wanted him to stop schooling to play for the club full time. But again, his elderly brothers refused the offer, still insisting that their younger brother must be allowed to complete his education.

On completing Kpantech, the management of Kpando Heart of Lions, who still had interest in engaging Ralph, made all necessary arrangements for him to start his playing with the team. Unfortunately for Ralph, his dream of playing with the team did not materialise when there was a change in management of the team.
Almost a year later, he moved to Accra, and again met Coach Sarpong, who was managing the Mobile Fone People football club. He trained with the club in Division 2. That was when he was spotted by Mr. Francis Arthur, who expressed interest in managing his career.

Coach Francis Arthur later introduced his player to Godwin Ago, a former Sports presenter with Peace FM, who further introduced him to Tema Youth FC. He trained with the new club and just when he was about being registered and included as a team member or player, once again, change of management at Tema Youth shattered his dream! – The second disappointment.

Manager Francis Arthur later liaised with colleague coaches, Nana Agyeman and James Maraby, to fix Raphael in 11 Wise Division One game. While playing for 11 Wise, Raphael was discovered by late Coach Jones Atuquayefio then with Liberty Professional. Transfer negotiations were started between the two clubs, but the agreements were not successful, and so Ralph maintained his stand as an 11 Wise player.

That was when he scored the likes of Dan Quaye, Aja Tetteh, Saani Mohammed and Kofi Abanga, huge Heart of Oak players in an intense match organized between 11 Wise and Accra Heart of Oak in Sekondi.
Management of Heart of Oak expressed interest in him; and this time, transfer negotiations were successful and so he joined Heart of Oak in 2007/2008, and remained with them for close to 2 years. In 2009, he was loaned to King Faisal in the second round of the Glo Premier League.

In pursuance of his career, Ralph joined the Medeama Soccer Club in 2010, and played for 2 years in Tarkwa. He later had a transfer to Berekum Arsenal, where he played for a half season under the management of Francis Amankwa.

Marketing through Social Media

Unlike many local footballers who have lack of interest in social media, Ralph has strong like for it, and used it to market himself and his skills to the outside world. Did that do his career any good? Yes! He earned his first international contract through videos of his action on the football filed posted on Youtube.

International Career

He was spotted by management of an Egyptian Team, Telephonat Beni Seuf FC, through his Youtube videos. Thus, he travelled to Egypt when contract deals were completed between the club and his manager Francis Amankwa. He played for a half season in Telephonat Beni Seuf; and decided to return to Ghana to play for Asante Kotoko, - a long cherished dream he had. While still playing for Telephonat, three other Egyptian clubs approached him for contracts but he turned all down because he had plans of returning to Ghana to play for Kotoko. Sadly, this dream could not happen because he obtained an injury during a training session with Kotoko, which lingered on for quite some time, and denying him the chance to play.

Nevertheless, he got another contract to play for an Angola team, Progresso Association Du Sambizanga (PAS) in Angola, where he played pre-season matches for the club. However, failure on the part of the team to meet the contractual agreement with him resulted in the mutual termination of the contract. Later, he travelled back to Ghana, to enable him prepare for better career offers.

Unforgettable career moments / experiences

Raphael has recounted a number of sweet and sour experiences that he has encountered in his career so far. One of his sweet moments was when he scored 3 goals during a training session when he had just joined Telephonat Beni Seuf in Egypt.
“Those goals informed the management that I had joined the team for good purposes, they had confidence in me,” he says.

For his sweet-sour experiences, Ralph fondly remembers when he managed to score a goal for Heart of Oak with an injured foot in a match against Kessben, playing with Kofi Abanga in the same match. The two of them could not continue in the second half because they both obtained various degrees of injury – the painful aspect.

Two other bitter experiences were when he could not join the Zamalek football club and also Etisalat football club in Egypt due to failed transfer negotiations.

Key players associated with

In his career so far, Raphael has played with some big names in the football fraternity both locally and internationally. Some of them are: Charles Taylor; Ishmael Addo; Saani Mohammed; Kwabena Boafo; Kwaku Essien; Sheriff Toure; Judy Massa, a Ugandan National Player; Samaka Eyptial, an Al-Alhy player; Ahmed Shockery and Yano, an Angolan player.
His disclosed that his favourite players are Cameroun Legend, Samuel Etoo, and Brazilian Champion, Ronaldinho.

Moving on

Despite the challenges, Raphael has not given up in his career, and after his return to Ghana from the Angolan Progresso Association Du Sambizanga (PAS) club this year, he is poised to step up his career.

Currently, he has 3 clubs – one in Malaysia and 2 others in Egypt – chasing him with offers. Concerning these offers he says: “They are all good teams but I, together with my new manager, Mr. Douglas Owusu Appau, are looking at the best deal in which the team and I can reach an agreement for mutual benefits; so we are still weighing the options before announcing the names of the clubs.”
By the close of November 2015, Ralph is billed to start playing for a new team in either Egypt or Malaysia. We can only wish him well in his choice and wait on him to confirm the team he chooses.

He further advised young and upcoming footballers to seek guidance from experienced people in football in developing their talent; and topping it with hard work and determination as that was the only way to grow such a career.
He is married to Mrs. Ajao Obeng, and together they have 2 lovely daughters.