Bright Gyamfi, in a tussle with Kevin-Prince Boateng in the Luigi Berlusconi Trophy in September

Bright Gyamfi, in a tussle with Kevin-Prince Boateng in the Luigi Berlusconi Trophy in September

By El Akyereko Frimpong

Follow the writer on Twitter: @AkyerekOfficial

GHANAsoccernet.com’s El Akyereko Frimpong sits down the prodigious Inter Milan defender Bright Gyamfi to discuss his arrival in Italy from Kumasi, playing his debut game in a Cup tie against AC Milan and the influence of the Italian culture.

Just a couple of weeks have past after Bright Gyamfi was thrown in his maiden first team game in a sumptuous clash between Milan rivals Inter Milan and AC Milan in the 2015 Luigi Berlusconi Trophy. The 19-year-old is still in euphoric mood after rubbing shoulders against a star-studded Milan side featuring Kevin-Prince Boateng and Dutch star Nigel di Jong. 

Gyamfi is in a refreshed mood after training with his Inter Milan Primavera side and beams with smiles as he reflects on the tie which was played under a charged and tensed atmosphere at the San Siro: “It was my dream that one day I will join the first team and play against a team like Milan.  I was very happy for that opportunity I had to play a derby against AC Milan. It was truly a cherished moment for me.”

Playing for the Nerazurri first team in a highly incensed game against Milan demands a lot but convincing the technical brains at Inter’s youth side to earn a place in the squad even demands greater dedication and exhibition of greater promise. His face reverts to a routine skirt of seriousness as he recounts his journey from Anokye Stars (a Ghanaian lower-tier side) to playing for one of Europe’s best clubs: “This is my second year at Inter Milan and things have been going fine at Inter because I have always tried to give my best to the club.” The nostalgic grin on his face is sustained for a brief while as he confirms he played in Ghana before switching to Europe. 

Gyamfi returned to the Primavera side where he plays along his Ghanaian compatriots Samuel Appiah Darko and Justice Opoku but he is soon harbouring dreams of first team football after tasting victory over bitterest rivals AC Milan. Though a number of Ghanaian players have passed through the youth ranks at Inter only Alfred Duncan (now at Sassuolo) and Isaac Donkor (loaned out to Bari in Serie B) are the only players who have made first team appearances for Inter despite over 10 Ghanaian youngster passing through the channel: “Because some Ghanaians players like Alfred Duncan , Isaac Donkor etc they all did very well by winning some important trophies for the team so it gives me  extra push.”

Gyamfi with Isaac Donkor Gyamfi with Isaac Donkor

Kevin-Prince Boateng was one of the big-name stars who played in that encounter at the San Siro. Boateng’s cult status in Milan was further highlighted by his brilliant performance in the game while he waits for January to ink his return into the Serie A. A prospect of Gyamfi playing against the former German youth international brings extra good feeling: “First of all playing at the San Siro was great and playing against Kevin Boateng was fantastic. He has been a great player at Milan in the past.”

The brighten excitement in his eyes gives way to a look of determination when he talks about his dreams and visions with the Primavera squad this season. His excitement betrayed his thoughts as he talks about scoring the match-winner in a crucial final last season and the determination of ‘let’s do it again’ keeps him talking about winning more: “My aim is to win important trophies with the team like how I did at my first year with the team at Viareggio Cup – scoring the winning goal.”

Victory with the Inter Primavera squad Victory with the Inter Primavera squad

Gyamfi met a strong Ghanaian family at Inter at his arrival and he insists they are just like a family: “We are like a family.” Inter have given chance to over 20 Ghanaian players in their youth side over the last two decades. Isaac Ntow Tuah, Giovanni Kyeremanteng, Basty Kyeremanteng, Mario Balotelli, Francis Boateng, Said Ahmed Said and Nsoatre-born George Cheremeh are just some of the names you can easily remember.

But among these 20 players who played for Inter Milan at various youth levels only Balotelli, Alfred Duncan and Isaac Donkor have been able to climb to the top. Nonetheless Gyamfi is not deterred by that fact and speaks strongly of playing at the highest level including winning the Champions League title: “I want to play to the highest level in football by winning some  winning league titles and the Champion League.”

Gyamfi is showing great prospects at Inter Milan Gyamfi is showing great prospects at Inter Milan

As an enterprising right-back Gyamfi’s style of play and vision on the pitch is very much influenced by former Inter star and now AS Roma defender Douglas Maicon. He speaks high of the Brazilian who patents at the lateral defence lead him to impressive performance for Inter and Manchester City: “I love the style of play of Maicon. He is a great play defender and has a lot of qualities.” But in the first team squad he was unable to single out a player for his favourite: “I like a lot of the current players and I want to learn from them they are they strong characters.”

The Italian culture will definitely have an influence on the youngster’s development and chart his course to the top. And, he admits that even his style of defending is being influenced by Italy’s way of doing things: “I’m still learning the language and sure the famous Italian way of defending and a lot of other things I need to learn to blend well with the society here.” he ends with a nod like agreeing with his own point. 

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