The continuous marginalization of the 2021 CAF U20 player of the tournament and Ghanaian wonder kid Abdul Fatawu Issahaku by the Black Stars head coach Milovan Rajevac in the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament currently underway in Cameroon, has not been well received back home and also by the traveling Ghanaian media contingent at the AFCON.
After playing two matches in Group C and losing the opener to Morocco 1-0 before playing a 1-1 draw with Gabon, the Black Stars desperately need a win against tournament debutants Comoros and the world’s 132nd ranked side in Garoua, Cameroon this evening (18:00).
Issahaku, who led the Black Satellites to an AFCON title in Mauritania last year, came on as a substitute and got four minutes against Morocco and only a minute against Gabon but the general feeling is that he has not been given enough time to show his magic.
The 17-year-old would like to follow in the footsteps of current captain Andrew “Dede” Ayew, Jonathan Mensah, Dominic Adiyah and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, who were introduced as teenagers by Rajevac in the Black Stars team which lost to Egypt in the 2010 AFCON final in Angola, just few months after the youngsters had won the FIFA U20 World Cup in Egypt in 2009.
This young group of players also formed part of the senior national team squad at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and played a pivotal role in the team reaching the quarter-finals.
Mamelodi Sundowns’ well-travelled scout Tera Maliwa was raving about the talents of Dreams FC’s Issahaku. Maliwa attended the AFCON U20 tournament in Mauritania last year to scout players for the Brazilians and he’s got nothing but praise for the teenager.
“There is a player whom I think, is one of the best young players in Ghana. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal his name. He’s still playing in Ghana and is also part of Black Stars squad for the AFCON.
“Yeah, he’s part of our monitoring process, Ghana has changed a lot in its approach in terms of introducing the young talent. It’s amazing to see that Ghana is bringing five local players to the AFCON, let’s wait and see how many of them will play,” said Maliwa before the tournament started.
Maliwa would know more about Ghanaian and West African players as he was the one who had scouted Black Stars injured goalkeeper Richard Ofori for Sundowns but he ended up at Maritzburg United before coming to Orlando Pirates.
Story by Velile Mnyandu (@Velile_Mnyandu).