Rather more surprisingly former Atletico Madrid youth midfielder Benjamin Asamoah had to sit on the substitute bench until the last 9 minutes of regulation time before being offered a cameo, replacing Komron Ibrokhimov at the Pamir Stadium.
In 2012, Atletico Madrid acquired the young Ghanaian talent to join their U19 ranks as the Colchoneros focused their scouting attention on West Africa.
It was just a year earlier that Thomas Partey also arrived in the Spanish capital from the Ghanaian side Tema Youth Sporting Club as well as central midfielder Isaac Nana, also from Ghana.
During the 2013/14 season, the Atletico B squad had established names like Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who is the first choice goalkeeper at Sevilla. Bayern Munich’s Lucas Hernández was 17 at the time and his talent wasn’t by any measure close to that of the Ghanaian youngster.
In 2013 Asamoah was 19 and travelled to Turin where he was one of the standout players in a U19 championship that featured most of Europe’s elite clubs. The talent of the Ghanaian youngster earned him the admiration of legendary Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo while Chilean Arturo Vidal and Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah inspired him to aim for greatness.
However, 9 years after this iconic meeting, Asamoah finds himself warming the bench in Tajikistan. The 28-year-old recently joined CSKA Pomir Dushanbe who compete in the VYSSHAYA LIGA – the country’s top-flight league.
In the first round of the AFC Cup, he was picked in the matchday squad by Iranian manager Amin Subhoni along with his compatriot Aminu Idriss. While Idriss started in a 3-4-3 system in the mountainous region Asamoah was left on the bench.
A calamitous own-goal from forward Elchibek Rashidbekov almost consigned the visitors to a defeat however Abdullo Sharipov snatched the leveller for his side within stoppage-time.
Asamoah’s involvement in the game span across just the 9 minutes of regulation and the stoppage time that produced the two goals scored in the game.
So what could contribute to such a systematic drop in the prospect and decline in quality?
After leaving Atletico Madrid at the end of the 2015/16 season, the youngster moved to the autonomous region of Catalonia to sign for Centre d’Esports l’Hospitalet – a club that presently competes in the Tercera División RFEF – the fifth-tier of Spanish football.
The spell in the fifth division took him just a season he moved 3,300 kilometers ahead to Cyprus to join Doxa Katokopias in the First Division League. Asamoah has been playing there since 2017 and has recently transited to Central Asia to pursue a career that is on the decline.
Yes indeed, some of Asamoah’s teammates at Atletico Madrid B in 2013 like Teo Tirado, Momar Ndoye, and Víctor Mongil are clubless, but those who saw the quality in him would be shockprised at his system fall from a dream of a European elite level to the lows of warming the rugged substitute bench in Tajikistan.