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By Dennis Ababio Junior

To believe something is impossible is to make it so. Wikipedia defines a “wonder kid” as a young person whose excellence in his or her discipline is appropriate to someone older and more experienced despite his or her young age. He is also an intrinsically motivated individual, one who goes for everything he or she wants and most importantly backed by positive attitude, hard work, and belief. Johnny Yaw Botsio is that kind of person.

He started his journey as a field hockey player somewhere in 1997 and was notably called Papa Yaw by his peers. There is a saying that “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be’….He, amongst other peers, came around the hockey arena to have fun and enjoy themselves till dusk, leaving with the excitements they expected. The road to stardom commenced when Mr. Edmund Zankoh of Real Ambassadors Hockey Club decided to put Johnny and his peers into doing something more effective and efficient with their talent.

Johnny Yaw Botsio however, started playing Real Ambassadors Hockey Club from his early days in 1998 through to 2008 when he was called to the national Under 21 select side which was preparing for a tournament in Egypt. Johnny was sidelined from the final squad which represented the nation in Egypt. He never gave up and kept chasing his dreams. Exactly a year after, Ghana’s under- 21 hockey team was once again invited to a 5 Nation Invitational tournament in Egypt again. He was called for camping and dropped from the final squad once again. As a winner, he kept Albert Einstein’s Ideology at the back of his mind to maintain his balance and keep on moving.
He competed for his alma mater (Osu Presec) in an inter school hockey championship in Accra where they won gold. He was selected amongst others to represent Greater Accra in the Bi-annual Inter Regional Second Cycle Schools Sports Festival which was also held in Accra in August, 2010 of which he won bronze with the team.
His efforts earned him a spot to join the national under- 17 team of Ghana to participate in South Africa for the Youth Olympics Qualifiers where he won gold with the team and was awarded Best Player and Top Goal Scorer of the tournament. This qualified the team to Singapore, Australia for the first Youth Olympics for boys and girls. The team strived through the group stages to play the Bronze medal game but lost 4-1 to Belgium. Johnny and his team made a mark placing fourth in this memorial tournament.

Excellence can be attained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, and expect more than others think is possible.

Johnny was with Real Ambassadors Hockey Club from 1998 to 2010. Currently, he plays for Trustees Hockey Club where he has had most of his medals and achievements since 2011. He won Silver with Trustees Hockey Club in Africa Cup for Club Championship hosted in Ghana in 2011, being one of the youngest players of the Trustees side. In that same year, he was voted SWAG most promising player and the top scorer of the Greater Accra Hockey League.

Papa Yaw has gone out of the normal outdoor hockey to play Indoor Hockey internationally and has been one of some few Ghanaians who have done so. He rose against all odds to win the best player in the 3rd Memorial Marco Meesa Indoor Hockey at Messina, Italy in January 2014 as he played for Pol. Uni Messina Indoor Hockey Club. As talented as Johnny is, he has also played for HCU Catania in Italy. He was voted Best Under-21 player in Campionato Italiano Prato in 2013/2014 season in Padova, Italy.

In June 2016, he was awarded Sports Writer’s Association of Ghana (SWAG) Male Hockey Player of the Year and Ghana National Player of the Month in July 2015. Johnny`s first trophy with Trustees Hockey club outside Ghana was at the just ended 2nd Edition of the Heroes Hockey Tournament held in Kenya. His marvelous game play earned him top scorer and a gold medalist with Trustees Hockey of the tournament.

Like other professional players, Xenon Hockey sponsors this young chap with some equipment. He has proved to many that he is worth investing in, when it comes to field hockey. He promises to rise above his current standard with God on his side.

Johnny Yaw Botsio’s memorable moment in hockey was the first time he travelled outside the country with the Under 17 National Team. They won Gold; He won the best player of the tournament, top scorer of the tournament and qualified with the team to the Youth Olympics in Singapore, Australia. He says he will never forget the SWAG Player Award he won as well, since that too was enlisted in his dreams.

I humbly share in Patrick Murphy’s saying that, ‘Uncoachable Kids become unemployable adults. Let your kids get used to someone being tough on them. Its life, get over it.’
Mr. Edmond Zankoh has been the backbone of Johnny’s progress in field hockey. According to Johnny, Coach Zankoh has been like a father to him ever since he started playing, screwing the laziness and sluggish attitudes out of him while he was still growing and modelling him with lots of advice and encouragement which are still a part and parcel of him. One other thing he remembers most was the period he was sidelined in the National U21 team’s trip to Egypt on two occasions. Coach Zankoh’s words to him were very few but worth inspiring. “Don’t worry, your time will come very soon.” There was also a time Johnny Yaw Botsio decided to go after soccer and boycotted hockey. His childhood coach still went after him like how the good shepherd goes after the only lost sheep in expense of the other numerous sheep.

Other individuals who have also inspired Johnny a lot are Salya Nsalbini(Trustees), Isaac Moses(Ghana Revenue Authority) and Gabblah Nene David (Trustees). His skillful play, even though talented he watched sternly at these individuals playing, while he was growing up.

Through it all, he advices all youngsters to work hard towards their dreams and never give up. There should be no Instance where you should say “I quit”.
If you want to achieve anything, go get it. The difference between Dreams and Reality is that thing called ‘Discipline’.

Believe over everything…Credere, su tutto


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