“Abakar Sylla was the star of the evening, but Kamal Sowah’s performance also deserves the necessary attention,” voetbalnieuws.be wrote in a featured article following Club Brugge’s win over Bayer Leverkusen in midweek.
As new as that may seem, Sowah is a man on a mission and a player that looks certain to thrive after a difficult spell in his initial year in Belgium.
The Ghanaian arrived in Belgium during the 2021/22 summer transfer window, where he was signed by then manager, Phillippe Clement, from Oud-Heverlee Leuven for nine million euros for Brugge.
However, after just four months at the club, Sowah was deemed unfit for the coach’s team with the club facilitating a loan move to Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar for him.
The Dutch league also proved an uncomfortable situation for the youngster, who was just limited to eight appearances in the top flight.
But with Clement leaving at the end of the season to AS Monaco and Brugge appointing Carl Hoefkens, Sowah looked to have a home again in Bruges.
A return to reclaim lost place
Sowah upon his return to the club, had a good pre-season, missing just one of the three friendly games the team played [vs Beeerschot V.A].
He also started the season with a place in the bench in the Belgian Super Cup as Brugge beat KAA Gent but that did not stop the 22-year-old who had a target in mind to achieve.
Fast forward seven games into the league season and the forward has only started from the bench on two occasions. During that period, Sowah has averaged 68 minutes per game, 22 minutes more than the first four months he spent under Clement.
The youngster looks to have found a playing partner in striker, Ferran Jutgla, as he has provided two assists already for the Spain international.
Being a focal point once again
It was all good for Brugge when they acquired the services of Roman Yaremchuk, who was signed for 16 million euros, the club’s record buy.
However, against Leverkusen in the club’s opening game of the 2022/23 season, Sowah was preferred to the Ukraine international, a decision many may have complained prior to the start of the game.
But, the Ghanaian’s input and display was enough to justify Hoefkens’ decision to pick him ahead of the Ukrainian in midweek.
In fact, Sowah’s performance was a clear example of Club Brugge’s slogan, ‘No sweat, no glory’.
Jutgla was surrounded by the Ghanaian forward, who played a key role in the impressive triumph over the Germans. Sowah frequently applied a lot of pressure, was very helpful in causing the ball to be lost, and was very valuable on the defensive end during his time on the pitch.
What is more striking is the fact that there is the belief the 22-year-old is beginning to enjoy a breakthrough at the West Flemings despite arriving a year ago.
Under Clement, the Ghanaian was often played out of position as he was more tasked with defensive duties as a wing-back. But under Hoefkens, Sowah performs considerably better as he is given a more central role by the new manager. His new role allows him to play to the strength of his qualities, which is also helping his side reap the needed results.
Sowah’s defensive display against Leverkusen
Though he plays more central now, Kamal Sowah never neglects the opportunity to help his side defend. Against the Bundesliga side on Wednesday, he won eight defensive duels, a good account for an attacker in such a high-tempo game.
On the opening day of the Champions League, only Mason Mount (Chelsea) as a striker was more active on the defensive side than Sowah. Mount won no less than 14 defensive duels.
With the kind of performance displayed by the youngster in terms of his defensive duties, only Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona) and Joao Félix (Atlético Madrid) added to Mount won more.
If Sowah is to thrive for Brugge under the new manager this season, he will need to come up a similar performance in the remain of the season as well as add goals and assists to his game.
But, it is no doubt that the Ghanaian is already making Clement’s decision to take him on loan last season a wrong one.
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