Daniel Agyei might not be a prominent sports figure like Azumah Nelson and Abedi Pele in Ghana but the West African nation’s football history cannot be written without his name.
How Daniel Agyei came into the limelight has an interesting twist – having risen from the dusty pitches of an Accra suburb called “Housing Down” with a juvenile team called Torino.
Very lanky and agile behind the post, the goalkeeper joined a club at Lapaz Newmarket called Freedom Fighters which later metamorphosed into Crown Prince because of sponsorship package from an educational institution by the above mentioned name.
While we were part of the second string side of Crown Prince fc, Daniel Agyei walked straight into the first team of the U-12 because of his qualities.
In a matter of seasons, Agyei‘s performance became the envy of many of us players and community folks.
Due to his high level performance, the now 33-year-old shuffled between the U-12 and the U-14 as he will keep 90 minutes for the former and appear on the bench for the latter where he occasionally featured and gave a good account of himself.
Aside from his goalkeeping exploits, Daniel Agyei is a skilful outfield player where he once appeared when Crown Prince were short of players in a U-14 league years back. He was roped into the away game complete the 11 players and he mesmerized the fans with his clinical passes.
However, an unfortunate incident happened in 2001 when an altercation between the team manager whose is known by his nickname “Alanco” and club founder, Daniel Boison a.k.a Pozo led to the dissolution of Crown Prince.
The two gentlemen fought over who owned which players in the team leading to a serious division among the playing body and the rest of the technical team.
This fracas happened before the watchful eyes of sponsor, Crown Prince Academy owner, Mr. Prince Boateng and popular Ghanaian musician, Pat Thomas.
There was then a head count of who wanted to belong to Pozo and Alanco and with the former who is a disable, having much of the numbers yet it was not enough to keep the club running.
Mr. Prince Boateng was taken aback by the action which had been kept secret from him for years prompting an eventual withdrawal of his sponsorship.
We all had no option but to look elsewhere following the dissolution of Crown Prince FC.
I dropped down to Leeds United now De Gunners – a club that produced former Levante striker, Emmanuel Boateng.
That would spell the end of my football journey up the ladder but Daniel Agyei joined BT International which later paved the way for him to sign for then Premier League club, Liberty Professionals.
The success began with spells at South Africa’s Free State Stars, Simba FC of Tanzania and Ethiopia clubs, Jimma Aba Jifar, Jimaa Aba Buna and Sebeta City after leading Ghana to clinch the Africa Cup and the FIFA World Cup in 2009 in Rwanda and Egypt respectively while at Liberty Professionals.
The feat subsequently led him to the Black Stars but Agyei could not really become a Black Star number despite a fine rise.
He earned his first senior call to the Black Stars for the World Cup qualification match against Mali. He made his Ghana national team debut on 18 November 2009 in a friendly match against Angola and was a member of the silver winning squad of the afcon 2010 in Angola and the World Cup in South Africa.
At just 33 years, a goalkeeper should not experience a sharp career decline if he is on form just as Agyei has been over the years but the case is different for the former Medeama Sporting Club shot stopper.
Now with Dutch second Division club, Ofc Oostzaan Zondag, what might have played against the fine goalkeeper who did not really become a full Black Star?
By Muftawu Adamu