AFS meets Jerry Akaminko
Africa Football Shop are proud to introduce Jerry Akaminko , Ghana centre-back and AFS’s Turkish Super Lig Columnist.
In this opening interview, Jerry talks to us about life in Turkey, his style and approach as a player, and also sheds light on his future aspirations.
Akaminko will be providing us with regular and exclusive content over the coming weeks and months, so stay in touch will all of the goings-on at Africa Football Shop.
AFS: Jerry, thank you for agreeing to speak to us and to act as the Africa Football Shop Turkish League Columnist. Have you spent much time on the new website, what are your opinions?
Jerry: I am really happy to be on board this great platform you guys have made. I have actually bookmarked it on my laptop and it’s a good source for the latest African football news. Combined with the shop I think it’s something that was missing from the market.
I doubt many of your readers know a lot about the Turkish Super Lig so I hope my column keeps them updated on this exciting championship.
AFS: We hope that over the coming months you’ll provide us with some fascinating insight into the Turkish Super Lig. How would you describe the division to those readers who are unfamiliar with it? What have been the key things that you’ve learned about the league and the country since arriving in 2008?
Jerry: It is among the world’s best leagues in my opinion, because of its current ability to attract quality from all over the world. Before, perhaps, it was inferior in this respect.
A good example of the improvement is Galatasary making the last 16 of the Champions League, eliminating big clubs like Juventus in the process.
Since arriving here, I have adapted my game and learned a different way of life. It’s a beautiful country and the people are very welcoming—a bit like Ghana.
AFS: Why did you choose to come to Turkey originally, and were you apprehensive about leaving Ghana to head to Eastern Europe?
Jerry: As a footballer you go where you’re wanted. I had played in Ghana for a few years and it was time to take my career to another level. I wasn’t apprehensive about leaving Ghana because I was ready for a new challenge, whether it was in Western or Eastern Europe didn’t matter to me. It’s been a great experience so far.
AFS: What are your favourite things about Turkish culture, and what have you found particularly hard to adapt to?
Jerry: Bits of Turkish culture are actually quite similar to that of Ghana. The well-cooked food, the welcoming people, for example, and the fact they are very relaxed about everything. The fans are passionate too, as a player you always feel like you have to put out your best so you can get the result that will make the fans happy.
The weather is fine, just a bit cold in the winters, but I am used to it now. The language was hard to adapt to but I am ok with it now.
@AfricanFoot asks which of the world’s leagues would you love to sample and play in before the end of your career? And also, why have you decided to stay six years in the Super Lig rather than moving on—do you feel an attachment to the place?
Jerry: Growing up in Ghana, there was a program on TV called ‘Football made in Germany’ and the likes of [Tony] Yeboah, Sammy Kuffour, [Charles] Akonnor and other Africans playing there. I said to myself, “I must play in this league one day.”
As I got a little older, the Premier League took over and it is now one of the best leagues in the world. I watch the games all the time and it would be an amazing experience to play in such a popular league watched by millions all over the world.
AFS: The Super Lig is now flooded with African talent, just a glance at the top scorer charts reveals numerous awesome strikers who have come from the continent—names such as Emenike, Drogba, Moussa Sow etc. Is it important to you that the league is filled with so many prominent Africans?
Jerry: Well, not important as such, but it’s really fun to play against players from the same continent and background as myself. It’s a credit to the league that it can attract players of the calibre of Drogba, Emenike etc. because these players could play in any top league in the world.
I am a fan of all the African players in the league but when I am on the pitch I am only after three points for my team. It’s my job to stop anyone trying to score against my team; whether they’re Turkish, African or Brazilian, I apply the same force.
AFS: How would you describe your playing style to those readers who perhaps haven’t seen you play? Do you alter your style when you play in Turkey compared to how you play with Ghana?
Jerry: I would say I am a cool, calm and collected defender. I try to adapt my game to the striker I am up against and I actually study [specific opposition] before games.
I am a defender who might try things that other defenders wouldn’t. This isn’t because I am cocky, but because I believe I possess technical ability and I am comfortable on the ball.
I am also aware that there is a time and place for everything on the football pitch and the surprise on the faces of strikers when I do the unexpected is always good to see.
The African game is a little different from Europe but a lot of the Ghana boys play here now, so the understanding is there. I don’t alter too much.
AFS: Eskisehirspor have cultivated a reputation as a team who can trouble the Big Three of Turkish football (Besiktas, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce) – you beat Fener last weekend and face Gala this Saturday. What can AFS readers expect from the team in this match, and can you shed any light on the secret to your success against the big boys?
Jerry: We go into these games with the big clubs with no fear but added motivation to beat them. We have a good team and the spirit in the camp is always high. We play for each other on the field with the sole aim of making our fans happy.
We will approach Gala the same way we prepared for Fener. It’s not much of a secret but we enjoy playing football and we are one of the best in the Super Lig at keeping possession.
We fear no team in Turkey and we believe in our abilities.
Join us next week as Jerry talks all things Ghana, Black Stars and World Cup—exclusively with AFS.