Ghana striker Samuel Tetteh has been speaking about his life on and of the pitch.
In an interview, the 22-year-old opens up about his upbringing and his advice to young players.
Born in Accra, Ghana on the 28th of July 1996, Samuel Tetteh has surfaced as one of the brightest talents in the entire nation.
Before travelling into Central Europe, Samuel was plying his trade at the West African Football Academy, established by none other than Feyenoord Rotterdam. During the opening game of the 2016/17 season, Tetteh scored against titleholders Asante Kotoko in the Ghana Premier League.
He managed another four goals in 12 matches that season, drawing attention from Europe and elsewhere in Africa. Spending eight years at the WAFA, Tetteh caught the eye of FC Liefering in 2016, a feeder to Austrian giants Red Bull Salzburg.
The forward cost the Austrians £630,000, which is not cheap by any means for a 20-year-old prospect moving to Europe from Ghana.
Samuel continued to impress at Liefering, scoring 12 times and assisting six times in 26 appearances. His solid run of good form saw him promoted to Red Bull Salzburg, where he played two games.
Tetteh was loaned out to fellow Austrian Bundesliga club, LASK Linz in January 2018 and has since made his mark there too. In the 25 appearances that he has obtained so far for LASK, Samuel has assisted eight goals and scored six.
He was especially beneficial in LASK’s attempts to qualify for the Europa League, scoring once against Lillestrom in the second round and assisting twice against Besiktas in the third one.
LASK were considerably unfortunate to lose the tie against the Kara Kartallar, a 90th minute Alvaro Negredo goal saw them lose on away goals. Currently, Samuel is sadly out injured until approximately the end of October.
Tetteh is predominantly a centre-forward, however, is also competent of playing on the left side of attack. Tetteh’s ability to operate anywhere across the front three makes him a key asset for each team he plays for.The 22-year-old has represented his national team on eight occasions, scoring once. His debut came in 2015 under Avram Grant at the age of 19.
The Interview: Q: What was it like growing up in Ghana, did you always have the desire of reaching Europe? A: Growing up in Ghana wasn’t easy, I didn’t have the desire to reach Europe at first but when I joined the WAFA since that time; I always dreamt of coming to Europe.
Q: What made life so difficult growing up in Ghana? A: I’m not from a rich family, sometimes it was hard for my Mum and Dad, in terms of money and getting food to eat. When I started playing football, my family struggled to buy my football equipment; it was also difficult for my parents to pay my school fees.
Q: In just four years, you have gone from the West African Football Academy to Austria’s best club. How has the journey been? A: Well the journey wasn’t easy and it was always my dream to play in Europe. I spent 7-8 years in the West African Football Academy and learned many things during my time there. I had both good and bad moments but it really helped me grow as a player.
Q: What is the best part of being at a club like Red Bull Salzburg that is so highly rated for its facilities and development? Atmosphere? People? Please tell us. A: The best part of being at a club like Red Bull Salzburg is that it helps you develop into a better player. The facilities there are amazing and as a player you must take advantage of the facilities to work and become a good player. The atmosphere is so great; it makes you want to play there all the time! The people are friendly, cool and always ready to help you out with anything.
Q: How is it like playing with such a diverse group of players in Salzburg and at LASK Linz? There are players from Australia, Europe, Brazil, Asia and other parts of Africa at these clubs, so how is the atmosphere among them all? A: It’s amazing playing with such a group of players from different countries, I would say this group of players is talented and hardworking with the lads focused on what they want in football. There isn’t a lot of difference between Salzburg and LASK Linz in terms of players and how they play, it’s just that some individuals make the difference and the atmosphere amongst the guys is great both in the dressing room and on the pitch.
Q: What do you think football in Ghana needs to reach the next level? A: What I think football in Ghana needs to reach the next level has to do with the FA in Ghana and how they manage things. We’re blessed with talent and have so many good players but we struggle to make the league and association attractive. If everything gets done accordingly it will be great and amazing to see how Ghanaian football will reach the next level. We have good players and good teams it’s just the management isn’t good enough.
Q: Some players find it difficult and upsetting to move on loan to different clubs, whereas some find it an opportunity to establish themselves and make themselves popular? Which side to you belong to? A: Well some players think going on loan to different clubs is upsetting and think that the club doesn’t need you anymore but I think moving on loan can change your career. Taking myself as an example, I wasn’t playing at Salzburg after my long-term injury and it was difficult to get games or even minutes, but moving to LASK really helped. I play in every game unless I’m injured and I was able to regain my form and the confidence I had before my injury. So, I don’t think it’s upsetting going on loan at all. I think it gives you another opportunity to reach the next level, develop and show everyone what you’ve got.
Q: What has been the best moment of your career so far? A: To play a part in qualifying for the Europa League with Linz despite missing out is one of the best moments of my career so far. Winning my first piece of silverware with Salzburg last year is also up there.
Q: What are your short and long-term aims as a footballer? A: In the short term, I want to see myself develop and become a better player and show what I’ve got. In 2-3 years from now I want to see myself at one of the biggest clubs in the world and challenging for titles and individual awards
Q: What mindset do you have when you are preparing for a match? What goes on inside your head? A: A few things go inside my mind when I’m preparing for a game. The first is having a winning mentality, and the second would be focussing on my performance and how I have to help my team win and score goals. Sometimes I picture how the game is going to go for me in my head before it even gets started!
Q: Your message to young footballers aiming to become professionals: A: My advice to young footballers aiming to become professionals is that they should be always disciplined, humble and work hard. You may have the talent but if you want to make it you should work hard, because hard work always beats talent if things don’t go your way. You should never give up whenever something goes wrong; instead, you learn from it and last of all they should pray and hope for the best!
Samuel’s long and hard journey from Ghana to Austria has been nothing short of inspiring. The dedication and effort it takes to go from not being able to properly eat twice a day to become a national hero and star in another country altogether far exceeds what most of us do during the course of our lives. Not only is Samuel’s story similar to that of a valiant fighter, but it is also an inspiration for every young footballer aiming to make it big, whether it be in Ghana or Grimsby.