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Jordan Opoku, the budding star

Jordan Opoku, the budding star

Though he had the talent to become a good footballer, he never dreamt that he would ever have had the opportunity to enhance his talent towards becoming a star.

All he could do was to dream of becoming a star, but after his association with Feyenoord Soccer Academy, Jordan Opoku now knows it is a matter of time that his dream would become a reality.

Playing for a colts team in Tema, 17-year-old Opoku was recruited into the Feyenoord Academy three years ago as a member of the First Generation group, the pioneers of the academy.

Set up by the Dutch club, Feyenoord Rotterdam, the academy's aim is to unearth and groom talents who would have otherwise gone wasted.

For the three years that Jordan and his colleagues have been in the academy, they have not only enjoyed the best in terms of training, they have also been given the chance to get quality education, something most of them may not have enjoyed, had they stayed with their colts club.

In terms of facilities for football training, they have the best of training pitches and top quality coaches.

Coach Sam Arday, the man who led the Black Starlets to win the world championship in Ecuador in 1995, is the technical director. He receives support from Dutch coaches from time to time.

This opportunity has started yielding results for Jordan, who completed his Senior Secondary School education at the Winneba Secondary School last year and is now dreaming of playing big time soccer.

As a member of the academy's team which was invited to play in a tournament in Rotterdam, Opoku emerged the best player and this left lasting impressions on the organisers and his mother club, Feyenoord Rotterdam. After that first trip, Opoku has been invited to train with the Dutch team on four occasions.

That may be the beginning of a new soccer life for him. Already, the Dutch club is planning to recruit him after he completes his training programme in Ghana. His determination to succeed has meanwhile started yielding results back home.

At the recently organised Mylik tournament, Opoku who had just returned from one of the Dutch trips, joined his colleagues and even though they did not win the event, he came out as the Best Player of the tournament.

As if that was not enough, the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) has named him as the Discovery of the Year 2002, for this, he would join other great sportsmen and sportswomen for honours at a special event in the course of the year.

For all these, Opoku is not swollen-headed, but is remaining focused until his dream is achieved. "Though I'm happy about all these, I think they pose a bigger challenge to me to further develop myself and live up to my potential, and I am determined to do that," he said in an interview.

He said his short association with the Feyenoord in Rotterdam has opened him up to the challenges that professional players face and he has braced himself up for it, if he should eventually end up with the team.

"It is not easy but I know that with determination and will power, one can succeed," Opoku said. Officials of the academy have also expressed great confidence in him.

Like many a footballer's dream, Opoku who also captains the First Generation team when they are in action, desires to play for any of the national teams and cannot wait for the day he will receive a call up.

According to the officials, there are several other good players at the academy but Opoku has a special inherent quality that endears him to most soccer pundits.

"He has the skills and talents to become a top class player and he seems to have the courage and determination to make it," officials said when asked to assess Opoku.

So for now, the budding player, hangs on the fringes of stardom and it is a matter of time, that he would join the list of great players the nation boasts of

Source: Rosalind Amoh for Graphic
Sport News of 2003-02-06
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