Teenager Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu first played for Ghana in the middle of 2008 and has since gone on to win the FIFA U-20 World Cup, play at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations and win himself a contract in Italy’s Serie A. It was the defensive midfielder who converted the winning kick that saw Ghana take the U-20 World Cup in Egypt last October, beating Brazil in a post-match penalty shootout in the final in Cairo. He played in all seven matches in the tournament, providing one of the key components of the team’s success.
Agyemang-Badu hails from Berekum where he played locally at Berlin FC before later signing for Berekum Arsenal and being named in the best XI of the Ghanaian Premier League after his first season of senior action. He was also in Ghana’s team for the African Nations Championship in early 2009, the new tournament run by the Confederation of African Football for players based in domestic leagues only. This was after he had moved to Asante Kotoko and had also gone to England and Spain for trials. His lack of international experience meant neither Middlesbrough nor Wolverhampton Wanderers could sign him due to work permit restrictions, but he did do a loan agreement with Spain’s Recreativo Huelva that was cancelled soon after in a dispute of the value of the deal.
After his performances at the U-20 World Cup, Agyemang-Badu was signed by Italy’s Udinese, a club who have also had a keen eye on talent from across west Africa. He will turn only 20 in December but has already had a taste of Serie A action. Agyemang-Badu first played for Ghana’s senior side just before the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers, in a friendly against Australia in Sydney. He was also involved in all of the matches at the recent Nations Cup tournament in Angola.