Kwadwo Asamoah represents the next phase of Ghana football, a player who has been tipped for a bright future after already enjoying exposure to the top tiers of the sport. The Udinese player, whose first name is Kojo though he prefers the nickname Kwadwo, emerged as a major find for the Black Stars at the 2010 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, where he played every minute of Ghana’s unexpected march to the final and proved the engine room of the team with his playmaking role behind the strikers.
In the absence of stars like Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien, Asamoah was the player who stepped up to prove the on-field leader of the team. But his talent had been spotted two years earlier when he was drafted as a 19-year-old into the squad for the 2008 Nations Cup finals that Ghana hosted. He was called up to replace injured captain Stephen Appiah, and, in a measure of the belief in his potential, he was also given the coveted No10 jersey to wear. He made his debut for the Ghanaians in the third and fourth place play-off match against Côte d'Ivoire in Kumasi.
It was at that time that Italian club Udinese signed him from domestic club Liberty Professionals and parked him at Bellinzona in the Swiss league, although he never got to play. He was brought back to Serie A in January last year, quickly emerging as something of a prodigy. Among the valuations put on his head by newspaper columnists was a price of €30m and his name has regularly been linked with a possible major transfer.
Asamoah played in four of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers, scoring a vital goal away against Mali in Bamako in a match that proved in hindsight to be the pivotal success that ensured Ghana a second successive trip to the final tournament.