Mark Noonan has made no secret of his desire to make Accra Hearts of Oak great again. The Managing Director repeatedly discussing the gaping hole in the playing body since he assumed office.
Results – and the performances behind them – serve to prove he has a point, the backline looking alarmingly poor as they concede goals and chances at an unsustainable rate.
Something has to change, and it is no surprise to learn that the club are doing all they can to correct the issue, linked with a number of high-profile defenders as potential targets. The club has already secured the services of former WAFA defender and skipper Mohammed Alhassan.
One name among the targeted defenders is Nicholas Mensah, with reports that some officials of the club already in talks with the former Wa All Stars stalwart to get him to join the club. If the reports in the Ghanaian media are anything to go by, then, the Phobians would be making a smart business in Nicholas Mensah.
At just 22, Mensah who mostly plays as a centre-back and occasionally as a lateral defender or a volante is comfortable in possession and assured on the ball. His reading of the game is so good that he can anticipate situations before they escalate but, if he does get into danger, he can always rely on his long stride to get him out of trouble.
Perhaps more importantly, he is a leader, the kind of player others look up to and improve upon their game to impress. With him in the side, Wa All Stars know that the other teammates will perform because he wouldn’t have it otherwise. It is, perhaps, one of the reasons why regardless of what changes are forced on the Wa All Stars defensive back line, they always retain a fair degree of tightness.
Mensah is physically strong, pacey, extremely good in the air, but also possesses technical skills on the ground. His passing range is excellent, and he can regularly be found starting off Wa All Stars’ attacks.
His temperament is outstanding; moreover, he plays with a maturity that belies his tender years. Improving all the time, with the right technical guidance and tutelage, Mensah could go on to become one of Ghana’s leading footballers and etch his name in Ghana’s football folklore.
Without the ball, Kim Grant places great emphasis on quick transitions from defence and an aggressive pressing scheme; offensively he prefers speed to elaboration in the build –up, and greater directness in his team’s passing and it requires an individual who is capable of mixing sound technique with high levels of endurance and an unquestioning desire to work. Nicholas Mensah perfectly fit the bill.
With his spiky personality, he’s aware that his progress as a footballer will help him and his family enjoy a better life. His application on the pitch, in training, and his general enjoyment will be influenced by this, and it’s something that will endear him to the fans if his performances are up to scratch.
One of the certainties when watching the former Mighty Jets graduate play is that his shirt will, come the final whistle, be drenched in sweat, the results of a game spent harrying the opposition and driving forward assertively with the ball at feet.
It takes a certain type of player to come through the lower tier clubs in Ghana and flourish.
The demands placed upon youngsters – both technical and mental – are enormous, requiring both immense talent and bottomless self-belief to allow such fledglings to establish themselves.
Nicholas Mensah possesses both in abundance and would thus be a blessing and a real asset to Hearts of Oak.