South African teenager Keanin Ayer has taken an unconventional path to Europe after signing for Swedish side Varbergs BoIS from an academy in Ghana.
The 18-year-old attacking midfielder spent the previous five years at the Right to Dream Academy in Accra‚ starring for the side in the prestigious Gothia Cup tournament that was held in Sweden in July.
That won him a move to Varbergs and he was thrust straight into the starting line-up‚ though his career got off to a rocky start with a red card in their last fixture against Sameehg Doutie’s Varnamo this past weekend.
Ayer‚ raised in Eldorado Park‚ joined Right to Dream at aged 13‚ in part to escape the at times suffocating scourge of drugs that were readily available in his neighbourhood.
His potential was spotted by coaches from the academy‚ which usually draws its talent from across West Africa.
The facility also has a link to FC Nordsjælland in Denmark‚ as well as Varbergs.
“It's my first professional contract‚ so I'm very excited to see how far I get.
"I'm very happy to have signed for BoIS‚” Ayer said after signing a deal up to 2020.
“I'm technical‚ quick-thinking and hard-working.
"I hope and believe that I will contribute many assists and some goals too.”
Ayer has ambitions to go all the way in the game‚ stating: “I want to play for Barcelona one day and maybe even win the Champions League!”
Varbergs coach Joakim Persson has high hopes for the South African.
“Keanin is an incredibly intelligent player‚” Persson said.
“He complements his teammates with his quality. Since he is a very individual‚ technical player‚ he understands a lot about the game for his age.
“There's no doubt he is a really nice new acquisition that we've managed to bring in.”