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20.11.2007 Sports News

Black Starlets player signs for Benfica

By Graphic Sports
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Black Starlets' offensive midfielder, Ishmael Yartey, has finally signed an 18-month loan deal with Portuguese giants, Benfica, in dramatic fashion.

The contract, which takes effect from January 15 next year, was sealed between the player's parents and Benfica officials in Accra last Saturday, with an option for an outright purchase depending on the player's performance during the loan period.

However, the puzzle as to how Sporting Lisbon, who invited Yartey to Portugal after the FIFA U-17 World Cup, had to lose the talented midfielder to their rivals, Benfica, is yet to be unraveled.

After fruitless efforts to fly 17-year-old Yartey's parents to Por┬Čtugal to study the contract before signing on behalf of the minor, Benfica had no choice but to detail their lawyer, Claudino Gomez Da Silva, and chief scout, Jorge Gomes, to Ghana to conclude the negotiations on the club's behalf.

According to a source close to the player, it was Gomez who actually recommended Yartey to the President of Benfica after watching all the Black Stars matches at the Germany 2006 World Cup. It noted that Yartey was chosen ahead of some other equally talented Starlets players because of his skills and quickness on the ball.

The former All Blacks player joined the Portuguese club without embarking on any trials.

The source said the deal was brokered by the player's agent, Mr Edmund Chu, President of Canada-based player agency, Ramp Management Group International.

It revealed that Mr Chu who had fallen in love with Ghana football had plans of helping other talented Ghanaian players in the near future.

By sheer coincidence, the left-footed offensive midfielder joins another Ghanaian left-footed sensation, Freddy Adu, at Benfica.

Though the monetary details of the contract were not disclosed, the source said Yartey, his parents and agent were happy about such an offer for an African player of his age.