Greuther Fürth midfielder Hans Nunoo Sarpei sat down for an exclusive interview with Get German Football News to discuss how it feels to be playing football again during a pandemic, how to prepare mentally during quarantine and much more.
Since the DFL announced the return of German football, I thought we could start there – how does it feel to be playing football again?
It feels great to be back on the pitch and to continue the season. I must give a big compliment to the German government and the DFL for making it possible again.
You played in the 2-2 draw against Hamburg in the first game back following the suspension, how was it?
The game was important for us and likewise for Hamburg. We equalised in the last minute and managed a draw. I think it was a fair result and as a team, we were impressed with the performance.
Were players asked their opinion on football coming back?
Like I said earlier, we must compliment the government and the DFL because it was not an easy decision to make due to the nature of the pandemic. Yes, we people’s opinions were asked, not only players. We all contributed to football coming back.
Did you or your teammates have any concerns about football returning?
Our only concern is to continue with our good form from where we left and to end the season on a good note, because we have played well this season, so we must keep it up.
How do you think playing behind closed doors will affect teams?
I think it affects the club as a whole financially and the even fans more. We the players are also affected a bit, but we were able to motivate ourselves against Hamburg. It’s also an important decision from the German government and the DFL to reduce the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, we’re hoping everything goes well and soon our stadiums and games will be full with our lovely fans.
You joined VfB Stuttgart in 2016, how have you adapted to life in Germany?
It’s all about survival. I mean to be prayerful, work hard, learn, to be patient and understanding and above all, to have a reason to survive.
And how did you keep yourself occupied mentally during quarantine?
I’m keeping myself occupied mentally and physically occupied by training and reading, learning and watching old games of me.
Do you have family here? And if not, does that make it harder during lockdown?
I have some reliable friends and some good people who kept me going during the lockdown and also phone calls with my family back home helped me.
Is there a difference now that you have quarantine hotels?
It’s just a normal day. The only difference is after training, you’re not going home but back to the hotel. It’s like a mini pre-season. [Laughs].
Who are the players you look up to?
I look up to myself because I have my own style of play and I write my own story and history but I have some players that I like the way that they play: Michael Essien, Arturo Vidal and N’Golo Kante.
What are your long-term ambitions in football?
I’m looking forward to growing and playing in some of the top clubs. I’m looking forward to a call-up to the national team and helping young players coming up and also players in not so good situations in their career to improve with my knowledge and experience.
And lastly, what do you hope to achieve this season?
Hopefully we can earn promotion to the Bundesliga or make it to the playoffs.