Ghana is often referred to as a football nation because the people love football and it is indeed the passion of the nation and much budgetary allocation on sports is pumped into football.
But for two unsung heroes, Eric Tsatsu 17 and Kelvin Carboo 18, they have braved the odds and devoted their lives to beach volleyball, which makes them to be seen as odd, but they are becoming heroes through a less financed discipline.
Despite the neglect of the lesser known sports, as they are called in Ghana, they have gone to represent the nation at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas, placing fourth and at the 2018 African Youth Games in Algeria where they won Silver medal.
Now the have qualified for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina and they are aiming to impress.
“Our goal is to make a name for Africa, Ghana and ourselves” they said in an interview.
Both have completed Senior High School and waiting to continue at the university.
Combining sports and education is the best thing for a youth, but not so in Ghana as they have to think of basic amenities like what to eat and where to lay their heads.
They came from different villages to the city, and beach volleyball has united Eric and Kelvin and now they do very thing together.
Kelvin Carboo aka ‘Pepper Dem’ who stands at 5 feet 9 incches completed Prampram SHS and wants to study Political Science at the university, while Eric Tsatsu with a height of 6 feet 11 inches and loves to be called ‘Jiji’ went to St. Kizito SHS at Mepe in the Volta Region and wants to do Psychology at the university.
They disclosed that playing beach volley requires a lot of discipline, devotion, determination, direction and dedication.
They also need stamina, speed, seriousness, skill and style to make the best saves and smashes to win.
Through Mr. Paul Atchoe, President of the Ghana Volleyball Association and Vice President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), they were introduced into the game and within two years, they are knocking on the doors of international sports fame.
Without a coach, they went to the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games and placed fourth, and at the 2018 African Youth Championship, under the guidance of coach Moro Mumuni, they won the Silver medal.
However it was not so easy, because they had no international trial experience. They trained locally against friends, but went and stood on the podium.
“It was a battle of toughness, not tallness, and we showed our mental toughness to win” said Kelvin.
They were drawn in a tough group in Algeria for the African Youth Championship, playing and winning against Morocco, Tunisia, Niger, Congo, Algeria, the host and Mozambique who beat Ghana to grab the gold.
Coach Mumuni said his boys did their best, but lacked exposure which they indeed lacked because they prepared feverishly with no idea of reaching the medal zone.
Now they are the second best in African Beach volleyball, and want to win a medal at the Youth Olympic Games.
“We need to go out to train to gain some level of experience and get some degree of motivation to make our nation proud” said Eric who believes in hard work and has Bruno Smitches of Brazil as his idol and inspiration.
Tsatsu also has America Phil Delhassal as his idol and he wants to play the game of beach volleyball to the heighest level as a professional.
They both love music and rest by listening to cool songs or reggae. They see sports as great opportunity, and despite the frustrations and lack of amenities to train, they remain focused thinking of the Youth Olympic Games.
“So for now, we don’t think of anything in particular than the Youth Games in Argentina. We want to make Africa and Ghana proud. We just need a bit of support and we shall make it” said Kelvin.
The duo has become twins and does everything in common. We hope and pray that their dreams come alive in Buenos Aires, where the youth of the world have come to display their talents.
“We believe in ourselves, as we have a mission for Ghana and Africa. This is not football, its beach volleyball and we want to be the best in the world” they expressed confidently.
Source: Sammy Heywood Okine