The Monday Profile: Kevin Prince Boateng
Sporting a name by which one is not usually referred to on one’s shirt – witness “GAMST” and “JONAS” – is not a habit of those prone to introversion, but rarely has this provided such an accurate view into the mind of the wearer than yesterday in Pretoria – the simple legend “PRINCE” providing all one could wish to know about the mindset of Kevin Boateng.
Having finished the season at Portsmouth, the former Hertha Berlin man is a Championship player of sorts although one suspects that he sees his future away from Glanford Park and the New Den come August. Mockery apart, it was a striking start to Boateng’s World Cup campaign. He played in an advanced midfield role with the exemplary “New Essien” Anthony Annan sweeping up behind, allowing the Spurs man to provide the links to Ghana’s incisive approach play, a combination of skill and strength that bewitches lovers of African football.
Confidence is a precious commodity if you recently cost your team an FA Cup Final victory and one feels that Kevin hasn’t let it get to him. His time at White Hart Lane was almost comically unproductive – on watching him during my club’s Premier League seasons, my heart would skip a beat on seeing his name in the line up, much as it did if Chelsea fielded Andrei Shevchenko – suddenly, there could be hope. Boateng looked downright incompetent in lilywhite, but the shift to more modest pastures has triggered his career.
Now, he contemplates a meeting with his brother Jérôme in Johannesburg and despite his crocking of Michael Ballack at Wembley, will still wish for a move back to the Bundesliga. Self regarding he may be, but that was no deliberate challenge and KPB could be back in the Bundesrepublik soon. As one time German legend (and only man to miss for the Nationalmannschaft in a penalty shoot out) Uli Stielike once said, “At senior level, Kevin will need to wean himself off the world of fantasy football.” Yesterday’s commanding cameo suggest he may well have done so.