Emmanuel Frimpong: The end of a chapter
He’s a name not on everyone’s lips. In fact, he might not be on everyone’s mind when you think about the talents that Africa has produced in the past decade. Emmanuel Frimpong is a Ghanaian international who low-key graced the European scene and played in the English Premier League, Russian Premier League, Cypriot First Division and even appeared in the Swedish League. The African player has been unfortunate to join the list of football players that are forced into retirement due to injury. Here’s a snippet of the player’s journey thus far.
Early career: Arsenal
Emmanuel Frimpong is a product of Arsenal’s Hale End academy where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Jack Wilshere in the junior leagues before his colleague made a quick transition to first team football as soon as he turned 16. Frimpong was made to wait for his opportunity under Arsene Wenger with the midfield packed with internationals offering a wide range of skills and talent. The defensive midfielder could only manage a total of 16 first team appearances including a notable night in Reading where the gunners made a miraculous come-back to win 7-5 after having been four goals down in a Carling Cup fixture. Seeing his colleagues progressing in their careers whilst he was on the sidelines could not cut it for the ambitious youngster, so he decided to leave Arsenal at the age of 24.
Injury plagued career
It is no surprise that he struggled to succeed at Arsenal considering the fact that he suffered two major injuries which disrupted his progress. Frimpong suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) damage in one of his knees which haunted him throughout his career. This could only mean that the player was not able to give his best thus being shipped off to other leagues and clubs. In the end, the player has represented Charlton, Barnsley, Fulham, Ufa, AFC Eskilstuna and Ermis in his short time in football. However, it might have been a different tale had he sworn allegiance to England.
Switching allegiance to Ghana
Although the player was born in Kumasi, Ghana, he had the opportunity to choose England as his national team. It could only make sense considering that he had represented them at various youth levels while he was part of the Arsenal team that won the FA Youth Cup and two Premier Academy League titles. Just like any other English player, Frimpong was hyped up and being mooted to be the next Paul Scholes. Instead, Frimpong aspired to play for his native home, Ghana and he was quoted to having said, “I have always told my family that if Ghana calls me, I will personally ride my own bicycle from England to Ghana [to play for the Black Stars]”. He did not care about the fact that he was still being called up for the England U-21 team because his dream was to represent the African team. In 2011, the player’s dream became a reality as he was cleared to play for Ghana but it came at a cost. All the hype and attention was quickly flushed down the drain.
Popularly known for?
Frimpong was well-known for his off-the-pitch antics than his performances on the pitch. The African was used to dropping controversial statements on his social media accounts which often got him in trouble. One time, he threw jabs at his new employers on Instagram after news broke that he was leaving Arsenal for Barnsley. He said, “How am I gonna draw girls now?” when lamenting about his move to the lower league club.
Also, he had his fair share of punishment from the English Football Association for posting offensive tweets directed at a fan. Frimpong was just too much.
Emmanuel Frimpong announced his retirement on the 8th of March 2019 after a long consideration of his future and well-being. The player had struggled with a knee injury for the past 5 years which saw him play through pain. The defensive midfielder said, “since November 2017 I haven't been in action as I had a tear in my knee ligament. I decided with my own will that I will not opt for the operation since I was not enjoying football playing through pain.” Spending some time out of the game with his family made him realize that he is blessed and he plans on being available for his daughter more now that he has hung up his boots.
Farewell Emmanuel! All the best in your future endeavors.