Matthew Amoah finished as Ghana’s leading scorer in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers, his five strikes proving pivotal in the Black Stars’ march to a second successive tournament. His tally added to the three goals he scored in the 2006 qualifiers that also made a major contribution to Ghana’s march to their first-ever FIFA World Cup finals appearance. But despite the haul of goals, the 29-year-old Amoah has not always been a first choice pick, his career hit by a string of injuries. Amoah moved at the age of 16 to the Netherlands where he linked with Vitesse Arnhem, spending eight seasons at the provincial club. His early departure from his homeland has led to an almost anonymous profile there because he never played any top level club football in Ghana, although in Amoah’s home town of Tema his achievements in Europe have not gone unnoticed. With three brothers, Amoah learnt his craft on the streets of the Ghanaian town and at the age of 15, he was spotted by scouts from the Dutch club while playing in an international youth tournament for his club Great Ambassadors.
But to get regular playing action, Amoah needed a loan spell at Fortuna Sittard to find his feet in Dutch football before going back at Arnhem where coach Ronald Koeman gave him a chance. And the move paid off as the club’s supporters named him their best player after the 2002/03 season, in which he scored 15 goals for the club and also competed in European club competition. He followed coach Bert van Marwijk to the Bundesliga at the end of 2005 but it proved a disappointing diversion, and in 2007 he was back in Holland with NAC Breda.
Ghana first selected Amoah ahead of the 2002 CAF Africa Cup of Nations and it was in the tournament in Mali where he made his debut. But after the Black Stars were eliminated in the quarter-finals, Amoah only ever received one more call-up before the appointment of coach Ratomir Dujkovic in December 2004. The Serb brought Amoah back for his first game in charge, and Amoah has been in the squad ever since.