SQUARE ONE: ADAM KWARASEY’S JOB JUST GOT HARDER

As though breaking into the Black Stars’ first team wasn’t challenging enough, the Norway-born now has to find his feet at club level, too

By: Sammie Frimpong

It’s amazing how just one finger has so very literally flicked Ghana goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey away from the dizzying heights he occupied not too long ago.

Indeed, only in December 2015 was the 28-year-old celebrating success in the MLS Cup as a key figure with Portland Timbers, with his role in securing that first major piece of silverware for the club highlighted by the heroics he pulled off in the shootout triumph over Sporting Kansas City which launched the ultimately successful quest for glory.

That feat heralded a much-anticipated return to Ghana’s senior national team which spelt the end of a 21-month period of self-imposed exile. And while Kwarasey’s spot as Ghana’s first-choice goalkeeper — a privilege relinquished rather controversially at the last Fifa World Cup — wasn’t going to be regained by default, the general opinion was that, with current No.1 Razak Brimah not always looking very composed in goal and his U.S-based rival’s own good run at club level continuing, such a change-over would occur only in a matter of time.

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And it would have, but for a ligament tear in a finger back in April that was supposed to see Kwarasey out for no more than a few weeks. Gradually, though, weeks stretched into months, and it increasingly appeared Kwarasey had been knocked off his hitherto undisputed perch in the Timbers’ goal for good by reserve Jack Gleeson who impressed head coach Caleb Porter so much in the interim. In the end, though, much more had been lost, with a press release from his employers on July 18 revealing the Ghanaian was being shipped permanently back to his native Norway. The move, as described by the the club’s general manager and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson, is one that ‘makes sense. . . for the Timbers’, obviously because it frees up some salary cap room and an international roster slot.

Make no mistake, though; Kwarasey’s transfer to Rosenborg wasn’t really necessitated due to his suddenly being rendered expendable by misfortune; he just was too good to play back-up at Providence Park.

Still, that fact does precious little to soothe the pain the glovesman probably feels over being so cruelly forced off the lane of promise and fulfilment his career had just began to steer onto; he’d be the first to admit that there’s still a part of him — a huge part, in fact — which would have wished to stay a little longer in Oregon.

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Norway may be the country where he’d played all of his football before settling for the ‘American Dream’, and Rosenborg the Nordic nation’s biggest club, but there are few guarantees on his return, if any. Unless he expects to waltz into a starting berth in the ranks of the Troillongan, Kwarasey would have to start all over again as Ghana boss Avram Grant’s monitoring focus on a man who, regardless of his present circumstances, remains the Stars’ steadiest goalkeeping option shifts to Scandinavia.

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