Richard Ofori has just finished modelling the new PUMA x Daily Paper AW17 collaboration as he takes a seat to talk to SoccerBible. Ofori is the Ghana National Team Goalkeeper and he's back in the capital of Accra to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of PUMA's ongoing partnership with African Football.

To mark the launch of the African football inspired collab between PUMA Football x Daily Paper, both parties teamed up to build a new football pitch at the Accra Senior Girls School, and it's here where we chat to Ofori on the effect football has in Ghana, the relationship between music and African football, and his thoughts on the new AW17 collection.


Richard, you’ve spent most of your career playing football in Ghana. What does the sport represent to this country?

We’re very passionate about the game here in Ghana. We spend a lot of time watching European football but we support our local leagues as well. Football is the main sport in Ghana, we love playing it and we love watching it too.

What do you remember about watching football in Ghana growing up?

I remember going to the national stadium to watch Ghana against Cameroon in 2008 and when we lost the whole stadium was so quiet. People were crying because they wanted us to win so much. That was my first visit to watch the Black Stars and I could sense how much football meant to people in Ghana, it’s a chance to put your country on the world stage and be recognised in a positive light.

What are your memories of growing up as a child in Ghana and playing football?

I remember playing for my under-12 team against one of our rivals. It was a very tough game, they had to beat us to win the league and they scored in the very last minute to win and I remember my whole team crying! We were only 12 but we were crying like babies. That was my first experience of how passionate and emotional football can be.


Most of the Ghana squad play in Europe. What’s it like when the whole squad meets back up in Ghana?

In Ghana, everyone’s dream is to play for the National Team. It’s still the ultimate honour to play for your country. When we meet for training camp we are like one family. There’s no difference between the players who play for the big clubs in Europe or the players who play here in Ghana, we are like a family. At the end of the day it’s about Ghana, not individuals. We do everything together and the feeling is so great when the players come back to Ghana and then you see them playing on television in Europe. Even then, they are still representing Ghana.

We’ve seen videos of the squad singing and dancing in the changing rooms. How much does music inspire the squad?

It’s so much fun. Every time we have a game we just sing, sing, sing, so everyone just forgets about the game! That’s what we’ve always done and it really helps because it relieves pressure. Sometimes when you turn up for the game you can feel the pressure. When you wear the Ghana jersey you know the you are representing your country, you can hear the crowd making a big atmosphere and that could make you nervous. So when we sing in the dressing room we forget about the pressure and become relaxed!

Has music always been so influential within African football?

Yes, of course. I remember when I just signed for Maritzburg United in South Africa and we did the same in the dressing room. We’d just sing, and sing, and sing and then we’d play the game! In Africa we love music in everything we do, especially when we are going to play a game.


Who’s the DJ in the Ghana dressing room?

Now, it’s Asamoah Gyan. But I am good at singing so it’s sometimes me that starts the singing. We love local gospel music, it brings us motivation.

You’ve been modelling the new Daily Paper x PUMA AW17 collaboration. What do you think?

It’s very nice. I always say that PUMA clothes are the best because of the quality and because they know Africa. They know what we want and they are committed to working with Africa and telling our stories. You can see that the collection is inspired by African football and I love the patterns and colours.

How did you enjoy helping to launch the new pitch at the Accra Senior Girls School today?

It was great! You can see how much it means to the girls and you can see a lot of talent in them too. It was a very nice programme to be involved with and it’s good to have a different facility at the school. You can’t learn everything in the classroom, training is part of learning too.

Shop the PUMA x Daily Paper AW17 Collection here.