GHANAIAN: Frimpong, playing for his parent club Arsenal, is now eligible to play for his country of birth
FOOTBALL’S WORLD governing body, Fifa, has officially approved to change Emmanuel Frimpong’s international playing status from English to Ghanaian.
The switch of national eligibility allows the Arsenal player, who is currently on loan at Charlton, to represent Ghana and help them in their qualification campaign to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The 20-year-old central midfielder moved to England with his family as a young child, but was born in Ghana’s second city, Kumasi – known as the Garden City.
Arsenal brought him into their ranks when he was discovered in 2001 and joined their Hale End academy at the age of nine, in the company of Jack Wilshere.
Despite making appearances for England’s Under 16s and 17s, Frimpong has not kept it secret that his heart lay elsewhere. “No matter what, I will always play for Ghana because at the end of the day, from what I believe, I am a Ghanaian”, he declared in 2009.
Two years later, in February 2011, Frimpong illustrated his commitment to play for African side with the humorous notion of a cross-continental cycle trek. “I have always told my family that if Ghana calls me, I will personally ride by own bicycle from England to Ghana”, he said.
That year was supposed to mark his debut for Ghana, however the summer London riots meant the friendly fixture against Nigeria at Watford’s Vicarage Road was cancelled.
Since Fifa’s players’ status committee has cleared Frimpong’s paperwork, the Gunner’s midfielder could make his debut next March when the Black Stars recommence the road to Brazil with a home qualification tie against Sudan.
Zambia currently top their group – Frimpong’s nation is three points behind in second place after two games being played.