Quincy Owusu-Abeyie has made a timely return to the Ghana squad, picked to play for the country at the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa after missing out on much of the qualifying campaign. Being thrust back into tournament play will not come as a shock to the 24-year-old winger, who first debuted for Ghana when they hosted the 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Owusu-Abeyie had then just received FIFA clearance to compete for the Black Stars after having played for the Dutch at junior level. He was born in Amsterdam to Ghanaian parents and competed for Jong Oranje at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, one of the outstanding performers in a team that suffered the heartbreak of a quarter-final exit on penalties.
As a teenage phenomenon, Owusu-Abeyie was tipped as to be a star of the future, snapped up for English club Arsenal by Arsene Wenger, as good a recruiter of young, up-and-coming talent as anyone in the football industry. He had been a member of the Ajax academy, but Arsenal gave him a chance for first-team football. But despite a promising start in England in 2005, his career direction quickly changed when it became apparent he would not get a regular run with the Gunners, and in January 2006 he was sold to Spartak Moscow. It was the start of a nomadic existence for the speedy winger that has since seen him play for five different clubs without long-term success.
It also cost him a place in Ghana’s team over the last 18 months. He did play for the Black Stars at the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers but was ignored after the arrival of Milovan Rajevac in late 2008. The new Ghana coach, however, is now responsible for his sudden elevation back in the squad and a trip to the finals in South Africa. A special trip by Rajevac to watch him play for Al Sadd in Qatar’s Emir Cup was enough to convince the Ghana coach of the abilities of the fleet-footed wide player.