It has been another week of talk-talk about a former player who was incredibly good in the Ghana Premier League for every team he played for, Liberty Professionals, Heart of Lions, Asante Kotoko.
He was an all-rounder. Goals with the head, left foot, right foot, a sense of where the goal was and had the composure of an experienced driver whenever he neared it.
Everyone who watched him religiously knew the sort of player he was and revered him accordingly. So in the past few days when Eric Bekoe proclaimed that the great Mohamed Salah looked up to him while he was a stalwart at Egyptian side Petrojet FC, I did not have any doubts.
I know him and appreciate his quality but he was mocked on social media extensively.
“I was a big player in Egypt. Mohammed Salah and other young Egyptian players wanted to be like me,” he said calmly in a local radio interview.
“Mohammed Salah of Liverpool picked me as a role model. During my days at FC Petrojet, Salah was a young boy playing for the youth side of Al Mokawloon who trained with Petrojet.
“Salah was a left winger who wanted to score more goals because he is clinical upfront. He sometimes cried because his efforts on the wings doesn’t result in goals.”
The fact that Bekoe remembers clearly who Salah was was quite telling of how much of a good player Salah was back then and how observant Bekoe is. All of it is quite evident in the sort of player he showed us when he was in the Ghana Premier League.
There are those who think of Eric Bekoe as a one season wonder in the Ghana Premier League but his statistics, goal scoring exploits betray that line of thinking.
Bekoe started as a youngster at colts club Antwerp FC in Dzorwulu. There, he tells me, he learnt his craft and is ever grateful to his mentors for making him what he became.
“I loved it there. It was a tough process getting through. There were too many of us and I was always determined to make it,” he recounted.
The leap from that team though to the grand premier league football stage via Tudu Mighty Jets is what baffles many. Not many have had the luxury of moving through the ranks so quickly in football. But he did it in a way that pleased many.
Bekoe’s statistics in the Ghana Premier League as a goal scorer makes for happy reading.
He scored 14 goals in 26 games for Dansoman-based Liberty Professionals, 20 in 26 for Heart of Lions in Kpando, 9 in 16 games for Berekum Chelsea, 4 goals in 12 games for the Black Stars but it was at Kotoko, the club he supported as a boy, that he made his name with 42 goals in 48 games.
“Kotoko is the university of Ghana football and it was a dream come true for me to rep the jersey of Asante Kotoko because I have been a fan of the club since I realized what football is.” He let out a big guffaw just after he said this and continued.
“So I was a fan of the game and then a fan of the team as well whereby I was paying my dues as a fan. I used to go for Kotoko circles meeting way back in Maamobi and all that. So when I had the privilege to rep the jersey, it was an unfinished business I was about to take on so it was a dream come true for me to play for Asante Kotoko.”