The football school of thought has it that, a player’s career can change for better or for worse in an instant. For a player like Clifford Aboagye, it was a bit of the two thoughts.
Clifford Aboagye announced himself to the world at the U-20 World Cup in 2013 where Ghana finished 3rd and he was named bronze player of the tournament.
Clifford’s stellar performances earned him a move to Spain to join Spanish outfit Granada. As thought by many, the move was the beginning of great things for the youngster, but things didn’t go down well for him, he only made appearances for Granada B and featured just once for the senior team in a Copa Del Rey game against Sevilla.
Speaking in an interview with Joy FM’s Muftawu Nabila Abdulai, Clifford opened up on why he failed in Spain.
“A lot of Ghanaians don’t really know what happened to me at Granada,” he told Muftawu Nabila.
“Many people know I wasn’t given opportunities. I had only 15 minutes to play against Seville in the Copa Del Rey”.
“After the World Cup, when I got to Granada, I was not sent to the second team, I had to play with the U19s after winning the bronze player at the tournament.
“I had to work hard to get noticed by the coach, but there were times I would be called to the senior team, but I never had the chance to showcase what I had. There were so many factors [that frustrated my progress].
“One of those is how footballers from the African continent are perceived.
“The perspective they have about Africans is that you have to be strong and to be frank, only a few Africans have made it playing in the midfield in La Liga: strong defenders, strong strikers, these are the players they fancy, but in my case, I was a smallish player who was technical, but they also had players who were equally good and probably as a foreigner, I’m sure they chose the Spanish players ahead of me”, he added.
Questions have surrounded the decisions made by Ghanaian youngsters who excel at you Youth tournaments, talking about a plethora of players who represented Ghana at the U17 World Cup in 1995, the team that won the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2009 etc. Most of these youngsters where out of the system after the tourneys due to bad transfer decisions.
“I could have made a better choice,” Clifford admitted.
“I was young, and I didn’t know much about football, but, now looking back at what happened, I think it was a learning process and I have been able to develop to overcome all those challenges”.
Despite making a nearly ending career move, Clifford still has no regrets, he’s rather grateful.
“It hasn’t been frustrating, I am rather grateful. You see, I had a lot of friends even after the U20 couldn’t get the opportunity to play in Europe.
“In my case, I got an opportunity to get to Europe, even though I didn’t get many opportunities to showcase my talent or show what I really had to the world, but it could have been worse.
“I have a lot of years ahead of me; that is what I have to concentrate on rather than thinking about the fact that I played the same tournament with Pogba and Oliver Torres or Harry Kane so I think I have to be there.”
He added: “Of course, it is positive to think that you can really make it to the top, but the comparison is not something for me.”
Clifford left Granada in 2017 to join Mexican side Santos Laguna on loan, after impressing, he signed permanently for Santos Laguna in 2018. He was later sent on loan at Queretaro and currently plays for Club Tijuana.
The former Inter Allies player explained why he moved to Mexico.
“I have learnt a lot,” he claimed.
“You know what, During my days at Granada, one of my coaches told me, ‘”Clifford, I know your qualities, what you have is not in Segunda B, you need to step up.’”
“It was one of the reasons why I had to take a new challenge and looking at this part of the world, you cannot mention the top three leagues without the Mexican league,” he stated.
“The quality is high. We all know their consistency when it comes to the World Cup, most of their players come from the league. So, I think I made the right choice and that has helped me a lot.”
Clifford was then quizzed if he’s ready to represent the Black Stars.
“I have always been working hard and I know someday, my time will come. That’s my prayer. The only thing I can do is keeping working until such time as the coach needs me to help and when I get it, I am going to give it my best as I have always done.”
When asked if he will be part of Ghana’s squad for AFCON 2020?
Clifford replied “kun faya kun (what will be will be)”.