The Ghanaian striker finally has the opportunity to make a mark on his stuttering international career
Once upon a time, Richmond Boayke looked poised to be Africa’s next big breakout sensation.
Signed by Juventus in 2013, after some outstanding performances with Sassuolo, he was already a Ghanaian international, as his 6’8″ size and keen instincts in the box led to parallels with Asamoah Gyan.
Both players are Ghanaian strikers, launched their careers in Italy and both played in Chinese football, but that’s where the similarities end, with Gyan recording more than half a century of goals and Boakye still missing double digits for a stutter-long decade. international career.
“I am honored that you compare me to Gyan, a player who has made a huge impact on the national team,” he told GOAL. “I saw those comparisons and read them, but I had injuries when I came back from China and they certainly slowed me down.”
Despite being on the Juve books for three years – albeit as part of a co-ownership deal first with Genoa and then Atalanta – he never made a senior appearance for the Old Lady and permanently departed in June 2015.
Rather than being the proper home he certainly needed at that stage of his development – still in his mid-20s – Boayke’s nomadic career spanned stints in Spain and the Netherlands, and he only truly rediscovered his momentum when he moved to the Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade.
Injuries began to affect the Football Manager darling’s career – 18 games were missed in the 2018-19 season – and a move to China with Jiangsu Suning was brief and unproductive.
He also believes that an interrupted international career may be the cause – rather than a symptom – of his inability to reach the heights he once projected, with Boakye’s first 2021 Nations Cup tournament with the national team since 2013’s Afcon, about nine years ago. .
“To get to the level that Gyan had, you need consistency, you need faith, you need to believe in the national team and you need people to support you,” he continued. “In a day, you can’t just get something, you have to give us the time.
“You have to have three or four strikers, believe in them and work with them,” he added. “We may not get what he did, but we can get halfway there.
“Players must believe – in the national team and in the country – to work hard and achieve what others have done.”
The 2021 Nations Cup represents a glorious opportunity for Boayke, who, at 28, finds himself at Beitar Jerusalem after a goalless spell in Polish football with Gornik Zabrze, to make up for lost time with the national team.
Since scoring his debut against China in Guangzhou in 2012, and starring when he won bronze at the U-20 World Cup in 2013, he has been underappreciated by a slew of Black Stars coaches.
After making three appearances in 2013, he was completely forgotten in 2014, for example, and only returned to the team under Milovan Rajevac in 2021 after a four-year ban from international duties.
Ghana struggled to assert itself offensively against Morocco in Afcon’s inaugural defeat, but Boakye was tipped to make an impact as they attempt to kick off their campaign against Gabon on Friday.
“You have Jordan [Ayew], I, Benjamin [Tetteh],” continued Boakye. “The first game was not for us, we were not able to take the chances or use them, but I think that against Gabon something better will come out, we will score.
“As a striker I think that when the first chance is missed, you have to focus on the second chance,” he concluded, “and I think [on Friday] we will win.
“The strikers will make an impact and everyone will see.”