By Ing. George-Patrick Bediaku
Ghana midfielder and on-loan player to Parma, Afriyie Acquah has put his torrid time in Germany behind him and is fighting for his place in the Parma first team.
Acquah returned to Parma FC in the 2013/14 season and says he has adapted quickly: "Italy has been my next home aside Ghana. I'm used to the pitches, style of play and the fans here. I'm just working hard to be on top of my game." he said in an interview with agoronet.com.
"And you know the World Cup is around the corner and I know I have to prove myself."
The 21-year old started his professional career playing two seasons with Palermo (2010/11, 2011/12) and moving to Parma in the 2012/2013 season.
He was snapped up in the 2013 January transfer window by German side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on a four-year deal.
TSG Sporting director, Andreas Müller had said of Acquah: “Despite his young age, Afriyie Acquah has the class and above all the desire to help out TSG. On top of that, he can play in a position that we are lacking options in at the moment due to injuries.”
But it was with this club that he would suffer a torrid time, failing to make a single first team appearance for the club.
Explaining why he had to sit out over five months, he dispelled any rumours of injury and said: "You know, every coach has his style of play and the kind of players he wants to win with. We are all good players but the coach takes the final decision.
"It wasn't a fitness problem. I was perfect."
Acquah remains a player of Hoffenheim, on loan at Parma until June 30, 2017 and says that he will look to return if the conditions are right.
"I'm a professional and football is my job. I love to play. If i'm going to play, why not?"
Having returned to the club, Acquah has made seven Serie A appearances for Parma, starting four of them, and also started in one Coppa Italia game (against Varese, which Parma won 4-1).
Acquah says he knows the work he must put in to earn a spot in the team.
"Parma is a good side and there is great competition here. Every player has to fight his way into a team and that is exactly what I'm doing."
Acquah has two caps for the Ghana Black Stars and scored his debut goal on his second appearance in a 2013 CAF AFCON qualification match. His goal earned Ghana a 1-0 away win against Malawi in the Civo Stadium. His first cap was against Chile in a friendly in February 2012.