Get to know: Anita Asante British Ghanaian footballer, and Olympian

Goal just did a feature interview with British Ghanaian footballer Anita Amma Ankyewah Asante. She is currently plays for Malmö in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan. She has made more than 65 appearances for the English national team, and was selected in theGreat Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics. Asante has also played for English sides Arsenal Ladies and Chelsea Ladies, plus Saint Louis Athletica, Chicago Red Stars,Washington Freedom and Sky Blue FC in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). Before signing for Malmö in 2013 she had spent two seasons in Sweden with Göteborg. Known as Neets to her team mates, Asante is of Ghanaian descent.

How did you develop into a professional?

Anita: I have worked really hard to play at the highest level and began my development with Arsenal Ladies FC at the age of 14. By the age of 22 I had an amazing opportunity to become a fully professional football player and played in the Women’s Pro Soccer league, (WPS) with New Jersey Sky Blue, USA. I spent three years in total in America playing throughout the country. It was an experience that changed my life and I will always remember fondly. Unfortunately, the league folded at the end of 2011so I decided to go and play in Sweden with Kopparberg/Göteborg FC only recently signing for LdB Malmö in Damallsvenskan.

Who is/are your role model(s)?

Anita: My role models in life are my parents! They have both been tough and supportive of me in my studies and football. I consider them to be progressive thinkers as they have never made me feel like my pursuit to play football as a career was not right as a woman, or because of historic views that still exist here, but also in Ghana. The footballer I idolise most, however, is Zinedine Zidane.

What motivates you?

Anita: I think I am motivated by the small successes that are there to be achieved daily in life and also in football. By that I mean pushing and watching myself grow and develop all the time, gives me a great sense of achievement and the fun I have playing as well as the joy it gives to others to watch me play and I hope to inspire young people to participate in sport in general.

Why are you interested in football?

Anita: It’s hard to say why I am interested in football, because I feel like rather football chose me. I had a natural affinity for the game from a very young age. My family were hyper aware of my ability with a football and I was forever juggling in the house, playing football all the time. It was a sport that all the local kids played at the time and when I would watch it on TV, so my passion for the game was spurred on.

What do you think about women’s football in Ghana and Africa in general?

Anita: I think it is good that women’s football exists in Africa and that both, the ‘Black Queens’ of Ghana and notably the ‘Falcons’ of Nigeria have led for the most part the women’s game in Africa. They have qualified for major competitions and that is very impressive. It shows there is a great amount of talent there, considering the lack of support in resources and financial backing. I think the participation of women in football in Africa, is a sign of great strength in the women of Africa that they continue to assert confidence and self-esteem by their participation, in culture’s that are still developing its thinking in relation to the position of women.

What kind of player are you?

Anita: I think if I was to describe myself as a football player I would say; I am quietly confident, technical and composed on the ball, experienced and assured defender and midfielder, good reader of the game.

What are your goals?

Anita: At the moment, I am focusing on short term goals as I have a few hurdles to jump right now. I guess my first goal is to complete my rehab successfully from my metatarsal injury and get back to fully playing and confidently. My second goal, is to fully integrate into my new club LdB Malmö (lot’s of goals within that! ha) and my final goal is to make the squad for the World Cup in Canada 2015.

How do you hope to achieve those goals?

Anita: I hope to achieve my goals by putting my best foot forward, always looking ahead, giving 100% effort to how I apply myself to a task. I know the only way I will achieve tangible outcomes is to work hard and I am proactive.

Any persons you want to acknowledge?

Anita: Honestly, there are not enough pages to acknowledge all the people that have had a positive influence in my life. But, I guess first and foremost I would like to acknowledge my family, who have shaped me into the human I am today. All the coaches/technical staff I have had over the years, too many to list but they have all played a vital role in shaping me as a footballer, supporting me through injuries, and also how I approach things on and off the field. My agent David Ross-Williamson has been there at every stage of my professional playing career, supported my choices and improved my knowledge and understanding of this business. Last and not least, my good life-long friends (they all know who they are) I have shared many great playing experiences with, some of whom are my sounding boards and the others who are just wonderful people that make my life better just for knowing them.

Looking back did you make a right choice to pick England over Ghana?

Anita: I do not currently have eligibility to play for the Ghana Queens as I am already fully capped for England. But, I suppose if in fact that question had been posed to me at a time where I would have had to choose, that would have been a very tough and interesting dilemma for me.

Where will your fans see you in the next 5-10 years?

Anita: Well, I know I can’t play this sport forever (sigh! ha) But, I know in five to 10 years I will be happy and chill as ever, giving back to the game in some capacity, and trying to utilise my masters productively!

Source: Kent Mensah for Goal.com

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