Wednesday, 22 January 2020 21:10

MATTHEW CUDJOE-ANIM: Meet Asante Kotoko’s 16-year-old Prodigy Turning Heads In Ghana Featured

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He was on the pitch for just twelve minutes but that was enough to showcase his immense talent. His sublime skills, passing and dribbles stole the attention and won the hearts of the many fans who had gathered to watch the finals of the GHALCA organised President’s Cup game between rivals Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak.

His splendid showing created a lot of excitement in the stands. The spectators could not believe what they were witnessing thus earning him the moniker ‘Messi.’ 
 
“I am not surprised to hear people talk about my talent anytime they see me play.” He told kickgh.com 
 
“I chose to be footballer and can only succeed if I work hard. Its good see people liken my style to Messi. It’s refreshing but I won’t get carried away with that. I really like Messi and do watch his montages on YouTube always. He is my idol but I must create my own path and world. It won’t be easy but with God on my side, I will make it.” He enthused
 
Anim’s burst of pace grips you with excitement, his sublime skills keep you on the edge of your seat. There’s an adrenaline rush anytime he has the ball tightly glued to his magical left foot. He is a player with a special gift and finesse, speed paired with technique and skills- at just 16. 
 
There’s always an instant sense of bums-off-seats excitements when he picks up the ball. Nobody is necessarily sure what’s going to happen, but the sense of anticipation is always high.
 
With such displays, one can easily tell that the lad is destined for greatness. Such displays has always characterised the youngster’s play and that earned him a trial with Italian outfit in 2018 but unfortunately missed out on a deal due to failed negotiations.
 
He sighs anytime he is remembered about this sad happening. The sigh is deep and engrossing; it embodies a sort of disappointment that can’t be forgotten: a seemingly eternal feeling of sadness and despair.”I become sad anytime I'm reminded of that unfortunate occurrence." I was in very good shape and thought the moment to showcase my talent to the footballing world was near but that wasn’t to be. The Almighty GOD had different plans and HE knows best” He gushed.
 
Young Anim was scouted during the premier edition of the Baby Jet Invitational tournament in 2018. He emerged the best player and top scorer of the tournament. 
 
Loaned to Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko from Division One side Young Apostles FC, Anim scored his debut league goal for the Porcupine Warriors in their 2-0 win over Ebusua Dwarf on Sunday.
 
He plays a play-making role and occasionally a free-attacking role. He is comfortable attacking on either wing or through the centre of the pitch. His quick feet allow him to keep control of the ball when dribbling at top speed.
 
“I am able to play on either side of the wing but I am very comfortable when I am assigned to a free-attacking role. When I am allowed to dictate the pace of the game, it brings out the best in me.” 
 
Wherever Maxwell Konadu plays him, he will undoubtedly create opportunities for Asante Kotoko whether be it from his pinpoint crossing and tricky dribbling or his superb vision and passing.
 
Anim admits he couldn’t have wished for a better footballing education than what he had at Young Apostles FC.
 
"I enjoyed every minute of playing football at the club; it was great being a kid and doing something that you really love with some of the best footballers from across the country.” “It was great to have been part of it, I’m really grateful to them for giving me the chance to spend my formative years there- to learn football and to learn to be a good person.”
 
The budding teenager is faced with a fight to gain a first team spot, as he is surrounded by experienced players who have seen it all as far as the local league is concerned, but the young prodigy feels that’s mainly down to the strategic nous of Coach Maxwell Konadu.
 
“He’s a very good coach and I am learning a lot from him,” he said. “I want to keep doing that all season. I learn a lot tactically from him: how to keep shape, how to help the team defensively when we don’t have the ball and how to be hard to beat.”
 
Like any other footballer, Matthew Cudjoe-Anim dreams of donning the national colours of his motherland within the shortest possible time. “I wish to play for the senior national team one day starting with the juvenile teams notably, the Black Starlets and Black Satellites.” He added.
 
For the time being, his development is being managed with kid gloves, but Ghana’s football landscape is fettered with vultures keen to make a quick buck from the country’s emerging talent. If the 16 –year –old continues to build on his performances and progress as a player, there is no doubt the big boys will be knocking on his club’s door soon. 
 
The list of individual strengths is a long one, and it’s a bit scary when you realise how fast he’s improving as a player.
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