“He has massive potential.”
Vancouver Whitecaps manager, Carl Robinson, isn’t the only manager to have made this statement of his young talent. Previous ‘Caps managers have made similar comments over the years, as the notion of Gershon Koffie’s potential has echoed around the ‘Caps camp ever since the masses first laid their eyes on a then 19-year-old Ghanian midfielder in 2011.
Former Vancouver Whitecaps’ midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has also spoken highly of Koffie in the past. After Reo-Coker’s first match in the MLS, back in 2013, he had this to say of his fellow midfielder:
“The world is his oyster. It’s down to him as an individual how far he wants to go in in his career. He has all the attributes it takes to play at the highest level.”
Throughout Saturday’s exhilarating 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake, we saw where that potential can evidently end up.
In what could arguably be called Koffie’s most complete performance of his professional career, he was a force to be reckoned with in winning tackles, keeping possession and tracking back to break up counter-attacks.
Then in the 36th minute of play, of his 100th career MLS start, he unleashed a sublime strike from about 30 yards out. After taking the ball off of Salt Lake’s Joao Plata, Koffie let the ball bounce once before thunderously striking it with the outside of his boot.Veteran RSL keeper Nick Rimando could only hope to get a touch on it, as the ball swerved away from his outstretched hand into the top corner of the goal.
Koffie had begun the new ‘green turf’ era of BC Place in style.
“Gershon has shown on his day he can arguably be one of the best midfielders in the league without a doubt,” Robinson said post-game. “I keep saying to him every week he can do it.”
“My gripe with him, and it is a gripe, is his potential is massive. He’s got to fulfill his potential with my help and my coaches help. He’s pushing himself day in and day in out.”
“What I don’t want is him to play well one game and not so well two or three games.”
Koffie, 23, has not always been the favourite option to insert into the starting “lineup during Carl Robinson’s spell as manager as the midfielder has been known to disappear for prolonged periods of time. He’s accumulated more total minutes of game action under each of the two seasons spent with Martin Rennie at the helm, than with Robinson last season.
At his best, he is controlling and dictating play through his passing and tackling, while continually getting forward and shooting at goal. He has the qualities to be be a very good mix of a box-to-box and holding midfielder. At his worst, you would be hard-pressed to even find him on the pitch.
However, with Russell Teibert still unavailable to hold a starting position due to injury, this provides the strong midfielder with an opportunity to put together a few quality outings. Koffie for one is aware that no one roster players’ starting spot is safe.
“We have a very good squad and every single player can replace any one” said Koffie. “At the end of the day the coach makes the decision. We have to push each other on the field.”
More complete performances out of the young Ghanian and we may finally stop talking about potential, all the while keeping in mind he is still only 23-years-old.