Recently promoted Brisbane Roar forward Kwame Yeboah has revealed his secret weapon as he prepares for his first full A-League season – the Brazilian martial art of capoeira.
The 19-year-old Yeboah, who was born and bred on the Gold Coast, is part of the Roar senior squad for the first time this season after honing his game with the youth side last year.
While the Queensland Academy of Sport product attributes his promotion to hard-work on the Ballymore training pitch, he admits his capoeira training has added an extra dimension to his game – including his trademark back-flip goal celebrations.
“From a young age I studied capoeira. I do that a lot, it’s very good for your body as well but I do it for football,” Yeboah said.
He explained the spectacular martial art, which combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, influences his movements on the pitch.
“It’s all about technique and rhythm. With A-League defenders there’s no taking 2 or 3 touches, it’s just in and out and a lot of movement, so it helps with that as well,” Yeboah said.
Capoeira has long had an influence on the Brazilian game with all-time great Pele an exponent of the art-form and current Brazilian national team players Marcelo and Hermanes filmed earlier this year displaying their capoeira skills at a training camp.
Yeboah said the mental discipline required in practicing a martial art was perhaps its greatest benefit, admitting his chance in the senior side is a result of his efforts on the training pitch.
“It’s been very hard. The last two years just working hard both pre-season last year and same with pre-season this year – a lot of hard work and I’ve gotten more game time this season,” Yeboah explained.
“The coaching staff have taught me a lot and helped me fix things with my game. I think I’ve done a lot better this year than last year.”
“Whatever opportunities I get, I will take advantage,” he added confidently.
Yeboah’s preseason returns are promising, with the forward netting six goals in Roar’s final four friendly fixtures – including a late winner against Melbourne Victory in Ipswich and a brace against Sydney FC in Cairns.
He said he was “really looking forward” to scoring his first A-League goal at Suncorp Stadium but could not guarantee an accompanying backflip celebration.
“It depends on my mood,” Yeboah said with a cheeky smile.
Yeboah played in National Youth League at Gold Coast United in the 2011-12 season prior to joining Roar.
He made his senior debut with an 89th minute appearance off the substitutes bench against Wellington Phoenix in February of this year in a match Roar won 2-0.