Despite losing to Banbury at Edgar Street yesterday, debutant striker Colin Oppong showed a lot of promise after starting an initial one-month loan deal from League Two side Salford City.

Simon Wright looks at the life and times of the latest Edgar Street loanee.

Stop me if you have heard this before.  A tall young man of colour, Irish born but of African heritage finds Irish football too small for him and can’t resist lucrative-sounding offers from England.  Here he finds that life is a lot harder and getting noticed is a lot harder.  He tries all sorts to keep his English dream alive but ends up at Hereford in the last chance saloon and a return to Ireland a real possibility.  Yep, its Dinanga of Coventry all over again.

Our loanee was born in Carlow, Northern Ireland to a Ghanaian mother and Nigerian father.  Early in Colin’s life, the family moved to Belfast.  The Willowbank Youth club were first to have the benefits of the striker’s talent. There were numerous hat tricks with the young man also being a hit as a popular club man.  To this day, Willowbank keep tabs on his progress as do curiously some African newspapers.  North Belfast semi-pro club Cliftonville picked him up for their Academy with the goals continuing to flow.   Like our Coventry loaner, Oppong was spotted by scouts of English clubs.   He chose Ipswich, joining their U18s in December 2018.  The future looked bright.

Yet so many hopefuls, so few opportunities.  He played for the U18s before earning a scholarship and progressing into the older age groups.  Here Colin will have played alongside Levi Andoh. Indeed, both trialled pre-season for Dartford with a view to a loan but neither were taken on.  Starting his meandering path, Oppong was loaned out to Bury Town and Lowestoft (twice).  Just short taster periods, not enough to build understanding and rapport.

Unusually, Oppong only had a 21/22 half season contract with Ipswich, expiring at the end of December.  He had trials with Colchester, Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday, all unsuccessful.   He was probably relieved to be picked up by the Salford FC Elite Development Squad in July 2022.  Presumably a club with sufficient financial muscle to hoover up lots of players in the hope of picking up some overlooked gems. Hereford have regularly dipped into this human lending library.

A few weeks after signing, Oppong was loaned to Boston United in August. He was returned after just 3 appearances in the draughty Lincolnshire flatlands.  In December he was off again, this time to Truro, a place which worries the Flat Earth Society. But worry not. Truro train in Exeter, play home games in Plymouth and away fixtures all over the South.  It’s a strange nomadic existence, especially for an temporary outsider.  Another token 3 appearances and Colin was heading back to Manchester in early January, probably in quite low spirits. So hard to make an impact when you barely know your team mates…. And your club name is “Pongy.”

A third loan spell (to HFC) merely indicates that his Salford days are limited.  Oppong is 20 years old and needs somebody to believe in him and give him a break. He clearly has talent, able to head the ball or hold possession. But he isn’t match fit and that’s our dilemma. By the time he is fit and useful, will he still be with us?  Difficult.

In the meantime, I hear that our Northern players carpool are thrilled to have a replacement for the departed Brad Wade.   Welcome to the Shire, Colin.  If you succeed, so do we.

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.