As captain of the MTN Soccer Academy, Raphael Dugbatey Jnr. was automatically spared the agonising moments of eviction last Sunday at the Academy House, and this Sunday Housemate No. 7 is hoping to ride his luck in the fourth eviction series and remain in the soccer reality show on Metro TV.
Like his other remaining housemates, Dugbatey has his eyes on the ultimate prize of a Hyundai salon car and a career-defining moment when the winner undertakes a two-week trial with an unnamed European club.
Last year's MTN Sports Academy winner, Gideon Baah, underwent a similar exercise with English premiership giants Chelsea as part of his prize.
For regular viewers of the soccer reality show, Housemate No.7 always seizes the opportunity to talk fondly about his father, former Black Stars and Accra Hearts of Oak midfielder, Ebenezer Dugbatey, and his dream of stepping into dad's big shoes.
At 18, Raphael did not have to look far for his hero. A chip off the old block who grew up watching his father play for Hearts, the national team and his exploits in Europe for French side Lorient (Dede Ayew's current club), Housemate No. 7 knew what a professional career and stardom mean.
Thus the MTN Sports Academy offered the young midfielder an opportunity to hone his talents under the tutelage of legendary coach Ibrahim Sunday while fighting hard for the ultimate title among 10 remaining housemates.
A native of Ada, Raphael is a product of Gt. Accra Division One side, St. Mirren, and hopes to one day lace his boots with Hearts just as his famous father did over two decades ago and now pursuing a coaching course in the United States.
Even though Raphael dreams of playing for Chelsea and is a great admirer of the club's Ghanaian midfield great Michael Essien, his greatest dream is to work with Manchester United's legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson because “of his style of coaching and how he inspires his players after every game.”
He says of the soccer reality show: “the MTN Soccer Academy has motivated me a lot and has really given me lots of confidence.”
Meanwhile, the 10 remaining housemates last Wednesday visited the offices of two corporate sponsors, Azar Paints and Latex Foam Rubber Products, where they were briefed about the operations of the two companies.
The Managing Director of Azar Paints, Mr Gazi Azar, advised the youngsters to stay focused and be disciplined in their chosen careers in order to achieve their life dreams.
Story by Maurice Quansah