The Ghanaian midfielder-cum-wing back is set for better days after a difficult spell on the sidelines
By: Sammie frimpong
There is a thing about talent, you know: when it’s abundant enough, nothing — not even two years’ worth of seemingly endless pain — could erode it.
Last weekend saw Ghana midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah complete 90 minutes of football for only the fourth time since the beginning of the year. It isn’t that Asamoah hasn’t deserved more minutes at his club, Juventus; he simply hasn’t been healthy enough to enjoy football during much of the past two seasons, having been plagued by injuries that have limited him to just 18 competitive starts across that period for the record Italian champions. At international level, Asamoah hasn’t been in a Ghana shirt since the qualifying series for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
The skies, however, have cleared up over the past few months and a big, bright, yellow sun now shines over Asamoah’s career. And it shone rather glowingly on Saturday night against Fiorentina when the Old Lady got its pursuit of a fifth successive Serie A crown off to a perfect start, with Asamoah one of the side’s stand-out performers. Only Brazilian midfielder Alex Sandro managed more key passes (3) than Asamoah’s two while, with just 63 touches, the 27-year-old recorded a pass accuracy percentage of 90.7, earning a whoscored.com rating of 7.00. Quite literally, he barely put a foot wrong all game.
It was a performance which reasonably filled Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri with hope and pleasure in equal measure.
“I’m very satisfied with Asamoah’s display,” the former AC Milan gaffer expressed.
“The boy endured a difficult past year or two through injury, but this term he’s really hit the ground running and is reaping the rewards. Now he’s training well and showing his quality.”
Those kind words don’t mean Asamoah could will himself into an automatic role in Allegri’s team (if anything, competition for places has only grown keener while he’s been away), of course — and they certainly won’t guarantee his fitness levels stay up forever.
There’s still as much work to be done in the gym as on the pitch, in addition to all the effort he’s already put in throughout pre-season. Should Asamoah hit optimum heights on both fronts with any consistency, though, his form — that form which lights up any pitch when he is in peak shape — should sort everything else out.
Juve will certainly be glad to fully harness the potential of a man who, though through no fault of his, has provided very little value for money during a very large chunk of the recent past. And Ghana trainer Avram Grant will be delighted, too, if his already-named squad for next month’s Afcon 2017 home qualifier against Rwanda (a pretty meaningless game from a Ghanaian perspective, anyway) is the last one Asamoah misses in the foreseeable future.
Finally, then, everybody smiles. Even Asamoah, yes — after all the sweat and tears.