Most people may not know Dominic Adiyiah, but this 28-year-old Ghanaian footballer had the potential to be one of the top-notch talents in the world of soccer.
The attacking midfielder began his career in Ghana at a club called Fetteh Feynoord, and went on to another Ghanaian team called Hearts of Lions in July 2007. He subsequently went abroad in August 2008 to play for a Norwegian football club called Fredrikstad FK.
He rose to prominence after the 2009 Fifa Under-20 World Cup tournament in Egypt, where he won two coveted awards at the tournament; the Golden Ball award, and the Golden Boot award, after netting 8 goals in 7 games. This record is the third highest number of goals scored by a player since the inception of this tournament in 1977.
Players such as Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba, and Diego Maradona achieved similar feats in their respective eras at this tournament. Looking at what these players achieved during their careers, one can only assume Adiyiah would follow suit.
Despite AC Milan signing him in January 2010, he did not have the wherewithal to find a place in the team with players like Alexandre Pato, Ronaldinho, Huntelaar, and Inzaghi fighting for similar positions in the starting line-up.
After having a slow start to life at his new club in 2010, he had a chance to revive his career when he was called up to the Ghana Black Stars squad to represent his country in the World Cup which took place in June that year.
His misfortunes began at this tournament when Ghana played against Uruguay in the quarter-final. Just when Adiyiah’s header in the 120th minute was about to make Ghana the first African team to go to the semi-final, Luis Suarez mysteriously caught the ball on the goal line to deny that history-making goal.
Even though Ghana got a penalty, one of his teammates missed it. The game then proceeded to a penalty shootout.
Adiyiah further compounded his problems by missing Ghana’s final penalty during the shootout, which eventually knocked Ghana out of the tournament. Unfortunately, his career plummeted after the tournament.
While he was still an official AC Milan player, he was loaned to 5 different teams within a 2-year-period (2010 - 2012), with the hope of regaining his form. Unfortunately, he was released by his club as a free agent to Ukrainian club, FC Arsenal Kyiv in June 2012.
This club also released him in January 2014, rendering him unemployed, until he found a club in the Kazakhstan Premier League where he played for FC Atyrau in June that same year.
Once again, his new club was not impressed with his performance, so they let him go on a free transfer to a Thai club named Nakhon Ratchasima FC in January 2015. He even left this club for a month and came back, only for the club to finally terminate his contract in May 2018.
As at the time of writing this article, Dominic Adiyiah is without a club. Of all the players who have won either the Golden Ball award, the Golden Boot award, or both, he is the only player whose career has plummeted to this extent.
So what could be the cause of his downfall? At the age of 28, what could he do to revive his career?