When Accra Hearts of Oak conquered everything in sight on their way to ruling the continent of Africa, one defender whose name will remain in the memories of soccer fans for eternity is Edward Agyeman Duah.
The scream of his nickname, ‘Rambo’ from the fans during ‘big’ matches would see Duah employ every tactic to dispossess his opponent even if through foul means.
Such was his stature in the defense of the Phobians in the period that they were branded the ’64 Battalion’ as a result of their all conquering nature.
Yet to taste continental glory, the Phobians broke that jinx in 2000 when they landed in the finals of the CAF Champions League and eventually won it.
Having plied his trade with some of Hearts’ fierce rivals on the local scene notably Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Goldfields FC, (now Ashantigold SC), Agyeman Duah was already a known face in Ghana football but joining the ranks of the Phobians was what fast-forwarded his rise to the top.
The height of his rise was the invitation to the Black Stars where he featured in a number of games including the historic Nigeria and Ghana represented by Hearts of Oak clash where he held the likes of Nwankwu Kanu, Victor Aghali, Finidi George, Jay Jay Okocha and Julius Aghahowa.
Few years after he hangs his boots, he went into oblivion with his whereabouts not much known to many.
But the man known as the ‘Rambo’ is a direct opposite of that today.
From a fearless, tough and rugged defender, Edward Agyeman Duah now relies on aides to move about freely as he battles a cerebrovascular accident (stroke) that has confined him to his bed for the past five years and rendered him bankrupt.
When the Times Sports contacted him at his Kissieman residence recently, he revealed how the disease has rendered him motionless and has spent every savings in a bid to recover from the disease that has affected his movement.
“I have gone bankrupt now because of my present condition and that is even affecting me.”
Rambo visits the Grace Homeopathic Clinic frequently for medical checkups.
Commenting on his state of health, Rambo told the Times Sports that “over the years, one part of my body has gone numb and has become bedridden, but have seen some improvement in the last five months.”
“I move from Kissieman to Sakumono three times in a week and sometimes more to access medical treatment but I am forced to abandon Sakumono and continue at the Grace Homeopathic Clinic Akatsi Abor at Agbogba, which is a little closer.”
Unfortunately, Duah is supported only by his family, some church members and a few playing colleagues, his only wish in life now is to recover to start work to earn a living for himself.
Duah’s condition was confirmed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Grace Homeopathic Clinic; Dr Chester Bonnako who explained that the former Ghanaian international needs support from well meaning Ghanaians to help in his treatment.
Dr Bonnako has for the past five months been offering free physiotherapy and medical treatment to the former CAF Champions League winner but says he needs a regular visitation in their bid to get him to recover fully.
“When Duah came in about five months ago, checks on him showed that most of the nerves were not really responding to treatment and blood circulation to the brain was severely impeded, rendering him numb in the left side of his body entirely.”
But there has been progress since as Agyeman Duah has now improved vastly on his speech and is able to walk without a walking aid but due to the chronic nature, the progress is a bit slow.
“There are injections and vaccines that can rapidly aid his recovery but these are quiet expensive. So I want to appeal to the government, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Accra Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko and benevolent organisations to come to his aid by helping to buy these items that will further speed up his recovery process.”
Narrating how he came into contact with Agyeman Duah, Dr Bonnako said he was introduced to him by a good friend of his and he put him on free medical care.
“For a player who has defended the flag of Ghana right from the national Under-20 side through to the Black Stars level; being the only player to have appeared in three CAF Champions League finals and winning it, Agyeman Duah for me is a national hero who should be celebrated and this is how I chose to celebrate him.”
With the Duah example, Dr Bonnako revived the calls on management of sports people to put in place retirement plans to forestall events of this nature.
A second concern of Dr Bonnako is the often ignorant attitude by sports men and women on the need for expert medical care anytime they are injured.
He said sports men and women have a bad habit of practising ‘self medication’ as well as going for injection to reduce pain anytime they are injured so as to continue with their activities, adding that, ‘it is an unhealthy practice.’
He revealed that in doing such things, players or athletes end up treating one organ and damaging the other.
“The damaged organ would also need treatment and it becomes a cycle so one keeps taking injections and other drugs for different conditions all the times and in most cases it does not end well for the athlete.”
He noted that the frequency of such acts coupled with bad lifestyle of most sports men and women mostly leads to problems that affects the nerves and blood circulation to the brain and most often end up in Cerebrovascular Accident or total ceasure.
To this end, he has asked athletes to resist the random medication and injections given on the spur of the moment to make them continue with their activities.
With Duah’s current state, the national star is personally appealing to philanthropists, public and private agencies and individuals to support his recovery.
He is also hoping that players will take a cue from his situation and seek medical attention when the need arises.
But in all these, Duah remains grateful to Ghanaians for the support he earned during his playing days, knowing that though he featured for three strong sides with stern rivalries, the fans loved him and that contributed to the success he chalked.
Duah retired after the Super Cup victory over Egyptian side, Al Ahly and undertook a basic coaching course in 2012.
He coached Horibeans FC before partnering some colleagues from Austria to form Lavanttal Soccer Academy which is now known as Red Bull Soccer Academy.
Source: Ghanaian Times