Striker Joselpho Barnes hopes he can be the next Ghanaian star to come out of the Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), just as the likes of Andre Ayew who captained the side to the trophy in 2009.
Barnes, the son of former Black Stars defender Sebastien Barnes was born in Germany and is making his first ever appearance for the Ghanaian national team at the 2021 AFCON U20 tournament in Mauritania.
The 19-year old’s dad, Sebastien, famously captained the Ghanaian Under-17 team to the World Cup final in 1993 where they lost to Brazil and was also an integral part of the squad that won the title two years earlier in 1991 beating Spain by a solitary goal.
And now, the Junior Barnes has taken the inspiration from his dad and chosen to represent Ghana, hoping to rake in as much, and even more success, like his dad.
He draped in the famous Ghanaian kit for the first time ever in the Black Satellites opening match against Tanzania where they won 4-0, scoring a goal on his debut.
“It has been like a dream for me. I have enjoyed every minute of being here since I came in,” Barnes told CAF Online.
“When we got the news that I had been called up, we were so excited with my dad. We were overjoyed and just couldn’t believe that it has happened. My dad was so emotional because he played for Ghana and now his son was going to play too,”
“I have had a very positive first impression from all my teammates, coaches and the management. It took me a while to blend in when I came into the squad, but they really helped me to settle down and feel like part of the family,”
“They did not treat me differently because I come from Germany, but it is all about football and talent. They just take me as I am and this fits very good for me. I have felt comfortable and at home since joining the team,” an excited Barnes says.
He adds; “The culture is good and there’s a lot of love from everyone. It is like a big family, not just about football but a huge brotherhood of Ghanaian people.”
Following his father for games, watching him play and learning of his exploits with the national team were enough to convince him to turn out for Ghana, though he was still eligible to play for his country of birth, Germany.
He came through the youth ranks of German football, having started out at Cologne from the U 8-13. He then moved to Bayer Leverkusen, his dad’s former team where he played from U13-U15 before decamping to Schalke where he is currently playing for the Under-23 team.
“My dad played a huge role for me to choose Ghana. He always told me of his stories playing for the Under-17s and I really wanted to follow in his footsteps so that is why I decided to play for Ghana. I wanted to be like him and even better and make him proud,” the striker adds on.