Meet Richard Ofei: A former teammate of Michael Essien whose career was crushed after fuel tanker accident
Growing up all Richard Ofei wanted to do was to play football and live a happy life. Richard was nurtured in a village in the Eastern Region and later moved to the capital at the age of 15 years.
Due to his love for football, a friend introduced him to former Ghana Premier League side, Liberty Professionals, where his road to becoming a professional footballer started.
“Football is my passion and one of the greatest gifts God has given me. A friend’s friend took me to Liberty Professional training and mistakenly a ball hit me and I kicked it in a way and it went to the coach who chested and curled it.
“So they were amazed so they made me repeat it. The late Sly Tetteh accepted me to be with Liberty Professionals,” Richard Ofei narrated.
In a very sad but interesting interview with Natalie Fort on GhOne, Richard Ofei revealed he was very optimistic about realizing his football dreams till his unfortunate incident.
“I started a career with Essien that was 1997 and had an accident when I was 18 at Liberty Professionals.
“Michael Essien and Derek Boateng were senior to me but I sometimes got the opportunity to come to play 15 or 20 minutes with them. I played with them from 1997 to 2000 till the incident happened,” he said.
Despite being a very good midfielder and honing his talent as a midfielder, Ofei’s parents did not like the idea of him becoming a footballer thus he was made to learn auto-mechanics. That was how young Ofei’s football dreams was crushed.
“My parents didn’t like the idea of me playing football so they sent me to Lapaz to train as an auto-mechanic but I sometimes go and play football with the team but not regularly.
“So a senior lady sent me to buy her food and rather unfortunate that I didn’t bring back her food because a Cocoa Board Tanker knocked me. Initially, I didn’t want to go but I was forced to go and buy the food because I was obedient,” he said.
“I woke up from coma to realize I was in the hospital. I never thought the accident was serious till I wanted to run away from the hospital that night.”
After being amputated, Ofei’s journey with Liberty ended but he never gave up on football. He would occasionally play football with able-bodied persons in his community and attracted plaudits from many due to how he used his sticks to move.
Through his affiliation with other disabled sportsmen, Ofei was able to join Ghana’s Amputee football team and played a huge role in their success in 2007.
He was part of the victorious national amputee football team that beat Liberia 4-3 to win the maiden edition of the All-African Amputee Football Championship hosted in Ghana.