Eric Owusu Afriyie is a name that will go down in the history books of Ghanaian football. He is the man who scored the first goal of the 2023/24 Ghana Premier League season, and he did it in style. He netted a header from a corner kick to give Real Tamale United (RTU) a 1-0 win over Hearts of Oak, one of the most successful clubs in the country. But what makes his story even more remarkable is that he was not even a professional footballer until a few months ago. He was a photographer who had given up on his dream of playing football at the highest level.
But fate had other plans for him. In July 2023, he received a phone call from RTU, a club that had just returned to the Ghana Premier League few years back after eight years in the lower divisions. They had seen some videos of his goals on social media and were impressed by his skills. They offered him a trial and a chance to revive his football career. Eric was hesitant at first, but he decided to give it a shot. He packed his bags and his camera and traveled to Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region.
He impressed the coaches and the players with his talent and attitude. He signed a contract with RTU on a free transfer and became part of their squad for the new season. He was determined to prove himself and make up for the lost time. He worked hard in training and waited for his opportunity.
His opportunity came on September 15, 2023, when RTU faced Hearts of Oak in their opening match of the season at the Tamale Sports Stadium. He made an immediate impact with his pace and movement. In the 94th minute, he received a cross from corner kick from his teammate and unleashed a powerful header from close range that flew past the goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net. It was a goal worthy of winning any match, and it did. RTU celebrated their first victory and Eric celebrated his first goal as a professional footballer.
He was mobbed by his teammates and the fans, who chanted his name and hailed him as a hero. He was also praised by the media and the pundits, who dubbed him as “the photographer turned footballer”.
Eric Owusu Afriyie is an inspiration to many young people in Ghana who have dreams of playing football or pursuing any other career. He has shown that it is never too late to follow your passion and achieve your goals. He has also shown that you can excel in more than one field if you work hard and believe in yourself. He is a photographer turned footballer who made history in the Ghana Premier League.
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