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How Mbella Etouga became a Ghana Premier League staple


At just age 20, Franck Mbella Etouga has delivered Asante Kotoko their 25th Ghanaian top-flight title and their first since the 2013/14 season.

The club was crowned as champions on Sunday, June 12, at the Baba Yara Stadium, topping it up with a convincing 3-0 victory over Elmina Sharks.

The exceptional thing about Etouga’s season is the fact that he is on course to become the first foreign-based player to win the golden boot in the Ghana Premier League.

En route to doing that, the Cameroonian youngster had to eclipse Eric Bekoe’s 17-goal tally for the Porcupine Warriors in the 2007/08 campaign which saw him win the goal king award. The forward has also edged closer to breaking Ishmael Addo’s record of 22 goals in a single Premier League season.

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With his performances for Kotoko, the name ‘Mbella or Etouga’ seems to have become a household name amongst Kotoko fans and to some extent a popular name in Kumasi. Out of the player’s 21 goals for the Porcupine Warriors, over 50% of them have come at the Baba Yara Stadium – a venue where his works have been hugely appreciated.

“Mbella! Mbella!! Mbella!!!” has been the chant anytime the Porcupine Warriors win a game at home and attend to their home crowd as part of their tradition to show appreciation for the support they show. Surprised? Maybe yes, or should I say no – he is a Kotoko player, in fact, one that has dug deep to earn himself the credit for the impressive work.

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When Etouga was signed, he came along with countryman, Georges Mfegue – the two were all in the Cameroonian top-flight the season before, and both ended the season as part of the top five scorers in the Elite One. Though it was the latter who first got onto the scene, the former’s contribution has been as vital as that Sergio Aguero moment that won Manchester City the English Premier League title in 2012.

Breakdown of Mbella’s goal

Etouga’s 21 Premier League goals have come against 12 clubs this season.

He scored hat-tricks against AshantiGold, Great Olympics and Accra Lions while he scored twice on three occasions (vs Real Tamale United, Legon Cities and Dreams FC).

His other goals have come against Karela United, Hearts of Oak, WAFA, Aduana Stars and Medeama).

At some point in the season, Prosper Ogum Narteh was full of praise for the youngster.

“He’s a complete player in the sense that, physically he’s there, technically he is a good player and tactically too and psychologically, he has that confidence and self-believe that he is capable of doing it and I like his work ethics. He is very humble, very respectful and always ready to listen to instructions and I will keep saying this, he has that mentality that he has travelled all the way here to play football so his focus is always on how he can train well and how he can deliver in a game,” the head coach said following the team’s win over Great Olympics in Accra.

How Mbella Etouga became a Ghana Premier League staple

“When he plays a game and doesn’t do well, he becomes so worried that I’ve to talk to him to calm him down, letting him know that world-class players like Benzema, Messi, Ronaldo and co at times they always experience such games.

“On the whole, I think he’s a good player, he’s always focused and he is ready to work and technically I think he’s one of the best players in the league.”

What next for Etouga after league triumph?

With one left to play, the forward has just one target – to equal Addo’s record or put in his all and eclipse the long-standing record.

The story of Ishmael Addo - Ghana's secret weapon the world never got to  know

A goal against Accra Lions will see him share the record of the most goals in a single Premier League campaign with the former Hearts man.

However, that record could solely become his should he net more than once at the Accra Sports Stadium.

The good omen for Etouga will be the fact that he has scored against most of the teams based in Accra, including Lions – a team he scored three times against when they met earlier in the team.

With the kind of performances Etouga has displayed this season, Kotoko would want to keep him but never rule out the club cashing in on him when a good offer arrives on their table.



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