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Tiebreaker Times


Kofi Agyei grateful for second chance with Ateneo’s football team

Just when it looked like Ateneo de Manila University would see itself held to a scoreless draw by Adamson University, Kofi Agyei was in the right place at the right time to score the winner at the UP Diliman Football Field last Sunday.

If not for Agyei’s timely intervention, the Blue Eagles would have fallen to fifth place with just five points after four games played in the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Football Tournament. Instead, Ateneo sits in third place with seven points.

“I feel happy to score my first-ever UAAP goal for the Ateneo Blue Eagles and it motivated me to strive harder for the team, especially in our upcoming games,” said the 21-year-old striker.

Agyei, who stands at 6-foot-5 ½, was initially brought to Ateneo to be part of the school’s successful men’s basketball program. However, there are times when things do not necessarily go to plan and redirection takes place.

So instead of holding the ball with his hands, the Ghanian took up his natural sport to still be able to represent the Blue and White at the collegiate level.

“Yes, I got recruited through basketball to play for team B. After months of training with them, our basketball manager, Epok (Quimpo), asked me if I could play other sports apart from basketball so I can experience the UAAP,” said Agyei.

“Since football is my first sport and I also wanted to experience the UAAP, I took this opportunity to join the Ateneo Men’s Football Team.”

Despite his familiarity with football, the Interdisciplinary Studies student still needed to adjust to his new surroundings. While he ended up playing for the same school that recruited him, he is now representing a different team from the one that first brought him to Philippine shores.

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Becoming a late addition to any squad is difficult. Learning the ropes quickly takes so much time and effort. Indeed, the T.I. Ahmadiyya alumnus’ struggles before this match were evident as he clearly lacked the chemistry needed to combine well with his teammates.

UAAP-85-MFB-Kofi-Agyei-ADMU-3 Kofi Agyei grateful for second chance with Ateneo's football team ADMU Basketball Football News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“It’s been hard for me because I trained in basketball since the pandemic in Ateneo. It was only about 6-7 months ago that I started playing for the Ateneo Men’s Football Team,” said Agyei.

“Given the fact that the time I started training with them was almost pre-season and with that, the adjustment I did wasn’t easy. I had to double time to be on the same level of skills as my team, to know more about my role, and to build a connection with both my teammates and my coaches.”

For Agyei, each training session and match is an opportunity to further grow with his teammates and coaches. It helps that those around him are very supportive of him. This, in turn, motivates him to work harder for them.

“My teammates are really good. I like everyone on the team, I can see the teamwork and I appreciate how we help each other to grow as a team,” said the MPAC Basketball product.

“Coach JP Merida is a good coach. He’s very supportive. He gives his trust to everyone on the team and encourages us to stay positive and do our very best. Hats off to the rest of the coaches as well!”

Now with a goal to his name for this campaign, Agyei wants to push on for Ateneo. The Blue Eagles are determined to mount a proper title defense now that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are simmering down and more goals from Agyei will greatly help their cause.

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He may have arrived at the Katipunan school because of basketball but football has given him a new lease on life.

“I have two more years to play for the Ateneo Men’s Football Team. I want to keep fighting and improving every single day because I believe there’s always room for improvement and I want to use that in aiming for victory.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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