Sadly, on 22nd August 2019, Manuel Agogo, popularly called “Junior Agogo” departed this earth. It truly was a black day for a lot of football fans. All the outpouring of love towards his family shows that the football fraternity takes his loss hard. Today, I would like to take a few minutes of your time to recount four marvelous lessons he left us with in the 40 years of his life. Remember, these are just my views only - the common Ghanaian and a football fan.
1.Take your opportunities
Sometimes, one chance is all you need. Even if that chance is a half chance. When Ghana ended her 2006 World Cup, most Ghanaian football fans had no idea who Junior Agogo was. However, when Claude Leroy took charge of the national team, he came with a new mentality. He wanted the big strong front man with positional awareness. And Junior Agogo fit the description. He took the tournament by storm. He became the poster boy for Ghana at the tournament. Alongside Muntari, he was the top scorer for Ghana. As a result of his stellar performance at the AFCON 2008, he earned a transfer to Zamalek SC. Even though the 2008 African Cup of Nations was the only time he was part of the Black Stars tournament team, he still managed to reap rewards of the short time he spent in the national team.
2.He rose through the ranks
In this day and age, some people find it hard to believe you can still start from the bottom. However, when you look at his career path, you find out that it is still possible to start from the bottom and end up at the very top. Look at his career trajectory for instance- he went from a bit time player at Sheffield Wednesday to loan spells at other clubs. He gradually grew his reputation by consistent performances at Queens Park Rangers, Barnet, Bristol Rovers, and notably Nottingham Forest. The peak was when he went on to be the headliner at his first international tournament. Yes, it is true he had a nomadic career. You can see this when you look at the list of clubs he represented.
- Sheffield Wednesday
- Chicago Fire
- Colorado Rapids
- San Jose Earthquakes
- Queens Park Rangers _ Barnet
- Bristol Rovers
- Nottingham Forest
- Zamalek SC
- Apollon Limassol
Still, that is what makes all of his story incredibly beautiful. And that being, he never lost hope in his career and he took his moment to shine when it eventually came.
3.A model representative of his teams
Sadly, there are news of football stars who use their celebrity status to their own benefit. Adam Johnson is a name that quickly comes to mind for example. Fortunately, Manuel Agogo was a shining example of how to represent your team. For there were many bizarre stories of Ghanaian ladies in love with the newest face in the senior national team. I remember one story of a father willing to give the hand his daughter in marriage to the striker. This and other hard to believe stories show just how popular he was at the time. Yet in all these stories, he was a role model of how we should all behave when celebrity status comes knocking on our door.
4.Stand up and be counted when you are needed the most
At the 65th minute when John Mensah was red-carded, no one would have faulted the team if we had lost to Nigeria. We had lost to them two years earlier at that same stage. Fortunately, we left the Accra stadium in smiles when Agogo put himself at the perfect spot to plant home the winning goal against our West African neighbors. These and many more reasons are why we should remember his time with us with much fondness. Be sure to share the post and also the legacy of Manuel “Junior” Agogo that he left with us.
Until later, take care.