By Roland Mulbah
A Guinean born 18-year-old attacking midfielder, Hanson Tamba Boakai, who was born to Liberian parents and holds Guinean andCanadian passports, has been discovered plying his trade for FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League.
He currently holds the record for the youngest player ever to appear in a NASL game at the age of 16s and 231 days, taking the record away from his coach, Colin Miller.
After spending two years with the reserves, Boakai was signed professionally by FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League on 20 February 2013, becoming the youngest player ever signed by an NASL side. On 16 June 2013 he made his professional debut for Edmonton against the Carolina Railhawks in which he came on in the 65th minute for SadiJalali and at the same time becoming the youngest ever player to play an NASL game. Edmonton drew the game 1–1.
Boakai is a player with enormous qualities. His sublimes skills, vision and tricks are qualities that make him a nightmare for opposing players and asset to teammates. It was no surprise when he was picked to represent Canada on several occasions.
While he still represents Canada at youth and senior levels, Boakais’s parents and agent are keen on the exciting player to play for his motherland, Liberia at full international level.
“Canada wants him to feature at full international level, but I want him to play for the red, white and blue outfit at full international level. He has played for Canada U-15, 17 and 20 and he is currently in the US preparing to feature for the U-23 side, but I will be keen for him to play for Liberia,” a representative of the player noted.
With Debbah’s Lone Star lacking a genuine playmaker, keen followers of the Lone Star believe Boakai is best suited to fill the seat.
Boakai had played for the Canada U15 soccer side and also featured for the Canada U17 during the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, scoring against Costa Rica U17 and Jamaica U17 sides as Canada managed to make it to the semi-finals and thus qualified for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The versatile lad continued to represent Canada at the U20 level and was a part of the team that traveled to Northern Ireland for the 2014 Milk Cup. After a strong showing for the youth sides and a virtuoso performance with Edmonton, Canada Coach Benito Floro called up the nifty player to the senior team for a friendly against Colombia in October 2014. He however, did not play.
The 18 year is currently in the United States where he has been selected to play for Canada’s under-23 team in the 2015 CONCACAF men’s Olympic qualifier from October 1-13, 2015.
Eight teams are playing in the Olympic qualifier, with the top two teams advancing to the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro, while the third-best team will get another chance in an intercontinental playoff at a later date.
Canada’s games are against the United States on October first and Panama on October third.
As a passing midfielder,he has scored one goal so far in the North American Soccer League this season.
Meanwhile,the player is garnering interest from Major League soccer (MLS) and European sides. France and Spain are a couple of the potential destinations.
Full name-Hanson Tamba Boakai
Date of birth-28 October 1996 (age 18)
Place of birth-Teldou, Nzérékoré Region, Guinea
Height-1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
Current team- FC Edmonton