Ghana youngster Felix Afena-Gyan credits his rapid rise from youth to first-team football to former coach Jose Mourinho, describing the Portuguese tactician as his second father.
The striker was signed by AS Roma in January 2021, and after six months with the U-19 team, Mourinho invited him to train with the first team, which he took advantage of, prompting the former Real Madrid coach to officially promote him last season.
One of his most memorable moments under Mourinho was in November 2021, when he came off the bench and scored a brace to help Roma beat Genoa in the Serie A. He finished the season with a medal as Roma won the Europa Conference League.
“Mourinho is my second father. He made me who I am today,” he told La Gazzeta Dello Sport.
Afena-Gyan joined Cremonese on a permanent basis from Roma at the start of the current season and is still developing.
The 20-year-old has made headlines after starring in Cremonese’s shock Coppa Italia victory over Napoli last Tuesday.
Afena-Gyan came off the bench to level the scoreline for his team and eventually scored the final penalty to send Cremonese through to the quarters.
Prior to his heroics against Napoli, Afena-Gyan had struggled for playing time following a move from AS Roma to the new Serie A side scoring just once in 10 games.
Afena Gyan will have the opportunity to meet his “second father” Mourinho when Cremonese face AS Roma in the last eight of the Coppa Italia.