Norway-born goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey finally got his nationality switch approved to play for Ghana last week.
The 23-year-old former Norway U21 international applied for the switch three years ago but only got the green light recently after an intervention by the Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi.
MTNFootball.com spoke exclusively with Kwarasey from his base in the Norwegian city of Drammen.
MTN: Adam Larsen Kwarasey, welcome to the interview with MTNFootball.com.
ALK: Thank you my friend. How is Ghana?
MTN: Ghana is all of joy because of your switch. Were you frustrated at any point because your switch took three years to complete?
ALK: I was not frustrated at all because I am a patient person. I was good enough at the age of 20 and I was keen on playing for my country Ghana but I also knew that if it was going to take time, so I was patient but was desperate to play for the Black Stars. How long it has taken has not been a problem for me at all.
MTN: So why did you decide to choose Ghana over Norway? Tell us what influenced your decision to play for Ghana.
ALK: I didnít choose Ghana over Norway. This is because I have never been called up for the Norwegian senior side. When people got to know that I was from Ghana, I got a lot of support from Ghanaians sending me messages saying that they hope one day they would like me to play for Ghana.
I think they were excited about the idea of me representing Ghana. I came to develop the passion to play for Ghana more because of the support I got from Ghanaians around.
I have not been going around thinking who I should choose. It was more like, which country would like to have me. Because Iím half and half, and I feel as much Norwegian as I feel Ghanaian.
MTN: How did your father and brother Rashid react to the news of your switch?
ALK: I think they were excited. My dad is in Ghana right now so he called me and told me that he read about me in the news and heard about me on the radio, and he seemed happy about it.
My brother is also happy for me, and I know they will be proud if I make it into the team.
MTN: Is your mother, who is Norwegian, as excited as your brother and father?
ALK: She supports me no matter what. I donít think she even cares if I play for Norway or Ghana, or if I play for Stromsgodset or play on the moon. She is positive no matter who I play for or what I do.
MTN: Scandinavian countries have very good goalkeepers like Peter Schmeichel, the ex-Man United keeper. Do you also have similar qualities?
ALK: I donít want to disappoint you but Iím not like Peter Schmeichel, he is one of a kind. Iím good with my feet; I like to start attacks from my position. My field positioning is good, Iím good in the air. That is catching crosses, corners and all. And of course, Iím a goalkeeper so I should be able to catch some shots. (Laughs)
MTN: You were in Ghana last December, what did you learn during your stay and how did you find the people?
ALK: I had not been in Ghana for many years since my last stay, so I was most of all excited to see my family and to see the country again. Just to see the country again, driving all the way from Accra to Tamale, it was nice. Definitely felt like home.
MTN: Did you visit Navrongo, where your father comes from, and what was the reaction of the people when they saw you?
ALK: I visited some of family in Navrongo; I was only there for only one day. And I gave a local team a set of jerseys and they appreciated it. Hopefully it gave them some motivation to make it as a player like me.
MTN: What are you bringing on board to the Black Stars?
ALK: Right now Iím not experienced at the international level but I know there are some experienced players in the team like Richard Kingson who can give me some advice and tips.
With my experience of playing at the highest level of the Norwegian top-flight as the first-choice goalkeeper, I also come in with some experience too as well and you know that people hold goalkeepers from Scandinavian countries in high regard.
So I hope to learn from those, who already are there but I hope I can bring in a lot in the future.
MTN: How much do you know about the Ghana team?
ALK: I have been following the Black Stars as a fan so I think I know as much as any other common Ghanaian.
MTN: Are you ready for criticism because local fans can be unforgiving?
ALK: Criticism is a part of football, you have ups and downs and Iím not guaranteed of success all the time so I would probably get some critics, but I should be able to handle that.
MTN: How would you feel playing for Ghana against Norway?
ALK: I donít know how the feeling will be. Because I donít have the experience.
MTN: How did you feel when you watched Ghana at the 2010 World Cup?
ALK: I was excited. I was cheering alongside all the Ghana fans in Norway. I think they really gave the people here a good impression with their offensive style of play and attractive football.
And when it was over I seriously wanted to cry because those weeks during the World Cup, life was good because of Ghanaís performances. I felt proud.
MTN: You helped Stromsgodset to qualify for the Europa League next season, what are you looking forward to this season?
ALK: Iím more focused on the league in Norway, right now we are one point behind the top of the table and I hope we can keep it going and fight for some medals. We come into the third round qualifier in Europa League and we need to take one step at a time and try to get through the qualifying rounds and into the group stages.
MTN: Are you aware that the female fans in Ghana are very happy when they heard that FIFA have finally confirmed your switch?
ALK: No, I am not aware. But itís nice though.
MTN: Would you consider a Ghanaian girlfriend?
ALK: If I would consider a Ghanaian girlfriend? Yeah, why not? Doesnít matter where you are from.
MTN: Would you consider living in Ghana when you retire?
ALK: Maybe. But I know I will be there a lot more than Iím capable of doing right now. You never know.
When you retire you have more time on your hands and that means I can get to connect more. It depends!
MTN: What are your ambitions as a young up and coming goalkeeper.
ALK: I want to become as good as possible and have a good career both club and international.
MTN: Thank you for your time Adam, all the best.
ALK: My pleasure.
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