By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
Follow Akyereko on Twitter: @Akyereko
If you were to survey followers of Swedish football on their most promising talent to watch this UPCOMING season, there is a good chance they would vote overwhelmingly in favour of one name – Ema Boateng.
Put the same question 12 months ago and Ema would not even be in with a whisper.
Recruited by Helsingborg IF from United States of America where he played for UC Santa Barbara in August 2012, the former Right to Dream Academy was in danger of being harshly written off as a player who could make any real impact at the 7-time Allsvenskan title winners.
Appearances were irregular and stop-start last season due to injury and most of Di Röe fans forgot there is a Ghanaian player at the Olympia.
Moving forward, the 20-year-old returned from an injury lay-off and tried to send a strong signal to Helsingborg fans with an incensed display before his season back-pedalled with an injury that kept him out of action for the rest of the remaining 9 league games of the season.
“I was injured right after I played that Swedish cup game and missed the remaining 9 games in the league.”
Before his season was switched off, the always-exhilarating looking midfielder inspired Rene Hansen’s men to a 4-0 demolishing of Härnösand in Svenska Cupen – with former Ghana goalkeeper William Amamoo failing to handle his 55th minute bullet from 25-yards, a goal which lives in the memory keeper.
After sparkling at pre-season in Portugal where he scored and assisted goals, the buoyant player who always wears a smile on his face to craving to grab his first league goal in a top-flight division, something he had always wanted to do to help his side and become a regular contributor.
“I think a goal in the league will be important not just for me but for the team as well so working on it.”
Ema is one player who has not been before the cameras and responded to questions frequently from the Swedish media but his eyes lit with hope and anticipation as he forecasts the upcoming season, hoping to translate his pre-season form into the league and other domestic competitions.
And he’s religious too.
“Yeah I mean that’s the goal. We do all that work in pre-season to set a stage up for ourselves in the regular season so going to do my best to keep performing that well. With God, I think it’s easily achievable.”
Helsingborg had won a domestic crown three seasons ago with Ghanaian-born Swedish defender captaining the team (Joseph Baffo) but have finished poorly in the two subsequent seasons and the gilded Ghanaian popularity in the expected to return the club back to its glory days.
Ema met his Ghanaian compatriot David Accam at Helsingborg when he arrived with so much on the shoulders of the attacker who has received a Ghana call-up.
“He’s a player with great potentials and has already proven to people he that he’s got great ability and he will be key to our camapign.”