Acheampong revels in new role. Dreams of lifting AFCON title

Ghana’s Frank Acheampong shields the ball from Uganda’s Moses Oloya. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Black Stars wing-back Frank Acheampong is enjoying his time at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)  and is optimistic the team can ride on their experience, team ethic and go all the way to the final and win the trophy.

A replacement for injured left-back Baba Rahman in Ghana’s first group clash with Uganda, Acheampong has fitted well into Avram Grant’s team  though he is more accustomed to playing as a typical winger with defending qualities.

Last Sunday, the RSC Anderlecht player put up an improved second half performance when Ghana defeated DR Congo 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. And having been part of the Stars team who lost the final of the 2015 AFCON to Cote d’Ivoire, the youngster is seeing light at the end of the tunnel and dreaming big at his second AFCON campaign.

“With our experience, we’ll move forward with our ultimate aim to win the trophy.

“I’ve been there before, it’s not something new. We went to the final with Cote d’Ivoire, but lost, so we’ve psyched ourselves up that this is the time the 35-year wait must end and it’s time God wants us to lift the cup,” an excited Acheampong told the Daily Graphic at the Stade de Oyem last Sunday.

Despite being tasked to fit into Rahman’s shoes, the youngster says he has accepted the challenge and has adjusted into his new role.

“We have to adapt all the time as footballers and it’s not easy although sometimes it comes as a surprise. I won’t say it’s not my normal position; I just have to adapt and play,” he said of his new role in the team.

“Previously, I had to attack before defending but now it is vice-versa, as I have to defend and attack as well. But the other back four have helped me out.”

Acheampong has made an impressive transition in the last few years from a juvenile player to a member of the senior national team and is on the verge of achieving history.

“It means a lot to me and I have to thank God for that,” he says of his transformation as a player.

“I started at the national Under-17 team and went to the Under-20 team; I had to play for the Under-23 team but shifted to the Black Stars and now in the first team. But it’s all been achieved through hard work and team effort.”

Source: GraphicOnline