The Ghanaian joins the Marina Machans with a lofty task on his hands.

Chennaiyin FC continued their busy summer of transfer activity by acquiring Ghanaian forward Kwame Karikari. The striker is Chennaiyin FC’s third foreign addition and thirteenth incoming overall to Thomas Brdaric’s roster.

The addition of Karikari is sure to improve Chennaiyin FC in a position that needs wide-scale improvement. Despite their obvious quality, the gaping hole in the outfit has been making the net bulge. Chennaiyin FC scored the least number of goals in the last two seasons despite signing six strikers in the time period.

Therefore, the task and responsibilities assigned to Karikari are huge. That is, to replace the exit of Nerijus Valskis. But going by his capability and his stats in the past 12 months. It indicates that the Ghanaian could very well be up to the task.

Prior experience

Kwame Karikari
Karikari has Asian experience having played in Thailand and Qatar (Courtesy: Chennaiyin FC)

Kwame Karikari’s career spans over 12 years. He has had spells with clubs across Ghana, Sweden, Turkey, Norway, Israel, Azerbaijan, the UAE, Qatar and recently Thailand. Across his career, Karikari has featured in more than 260 games scoring 84 goals and assisting 13 times in the process.

Among these, 15 appearances came in the UEFA Europa League where Karikari scored thrice. Karikari also represented the Ghana U-20 side in two games in 2011. Therefore, the 30-year-old brings a wealth of experience and goalscoring capability to the Marina Machans’ ranks. He will play for his 16th club when he laces his boots for Chennaiyin FC in the 2022-23 ISL season.

Type of player

Karikari plies his trade mostly as a centre-forward. But he is also equally adept on the wings. Kwame applies pace and his physical stature to good effect and is always up for a challenge against defenders.

Standing at 190 cm (6′ 3″), Kwame Karikari has the perfect fit to be a player who can be a traditional #9 for Chennaiyin FC. He can also use his height to good effect to win aerial battles and be at the end of crosses in the box. Chennaiyin FC completed the sixth-highest number of crosses last season. Therefore, having a player of Karikari’s physical stature is sure to help their cause.

One can expect Kwame to play the furthest in Brdaric’s 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 system. Therefore, he would be the focal point for Chennaiyin FC in attack. Add the creativity of Rafael Crivellaro, Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Vanspaul and the pace of Vincy Barreto and Alexander Jesuraj and that’s a potent attack.

What does he bring to the team?

Kwame Karikari
Kwame Karikari scored 17 goals in 35 appearances for Nakhon Ratchasima last season (Courtesy: Chennaiyin FC)

“I think he’s got the technical ability and the physicality to succeed in India. We have had many great forwards at this club and I believe Kwame should be able to match those standards.” These were the words of Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani during the announcement of Kwame Karikari’s transfer.

Karikari is coming from the most prolific season in his journeyman career. The forward scored 17 goals in 36 games across all competitions for Thai side Nakhon Ratchasima Mazda. This includes 13 goals in 29 games in the Thai League 1, the seventh-highest last season.

To put that into perspective, Chennaiyin FC scored 17 goals last season. Therefore, the Ghanaian can be a breath of fresh air for the club’s attack. With his experience, physicality and capability, he can cause a problem or two for the defence. Chennaiyin FC are the second-highest scoring team in ISL history (199 goals) and have been blessed with some great strikers.

If he continues his form from last season, Karikari could soon add himself to that esteemed list of players like Steven Mendoza, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Nerijus Valskis. He could also be the antidote for Chennaiyin FC’s goalscoring struggles and could soon become a fan favourite at the Marina Arena.

For more football updates, follow Khel Now on TwitterInstagram and join our community on Telegram.