Kamaldeen Sulemana’s exhilarating cameo performance during Ghana’s 2-0 defeat to Uruguay on Friday afternoon may have elicited a rather mixed reaction from Black Stars’ supporters.
On one hand, the Rennes winger gave Ghana hope, at least for a little while, that a place in the World Cup’s last-16 might just have been within reach. On the other, the immediate impact Sulemana made at the Al Janoub Stadium may raise some rather probing questions about why he played such a backseat role in Qatar.
It certainly didn’t take long to realise why, per L’Equipe, Newcastle United have identified the former Nordsjaelland wonderkid as a potential successor to Allan Saint-Maximin at St James’ Park.
Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images
Like the mercurial Frenchman, Sulemana revels in squaring up to his full-back before leaving them for dead with an explosion of nitrous-powered acceleration.
Newcastle United are fans of Ghana and Rennes winger Kamaldeen Sulemana.
Uruguay just couldn’t live with the 20-year-old during his 45 minutes on the pitch; Sulemana twisting and turning Guillermo Varela into something resembling a human pretzel at one stage, while forcing a decent stop out of goalkeeper Sergio Rochet with a thumping long-range volley.
“With the mentality he has, I will never say it will be too big a leap,” Nordsjaelland director Flemming Pedersen said in the summer of 2021, when Sulemana was being linked with moves to Manchester United and Liverpool before ending up at Rennes for a cool £17 million.
“He is extraordinary. We are talking about a player with potential on a par with Neymar. And maybe even more than that, because he’s even faster (than the Brazil superstar).”
There were certainly shades of Neymar in the way Sulemana took on the Uruguay backline, almost single-handedly at times.
Perhaps, if Ghana boss Otto Addo could turn back the clock, he’d would chosen to introduce one of the World Cup’s most skilful young forwards that bit earlier in the group stage.
Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty ImagesShow all
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