The St. Gallen shot-stopper sheds light on the early days of his footballing career
Ghana international Lawrence Ati-Zigi has opened up on how his footballing career started, making an interesting revelation about how he became a goalkeeper.
The 24-year-old, who currently plays club football for Swiss Super League outfit St. Gallen, has become a popular face in Ghana’s national set-up since first representing the nation at the 2015 Fifa U20 World Cup in New Zealand.
In January 2017, he received his maiden senior call-up ahead of the year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon.
“I didn’t really start as a goalkeeper. My friends made me a goalkeeper and I have lived with it,” Ati-Zigi told Footballmadeinghana.
“I started playing football at the age of six as an outfield player. I was not a goalkeeper. I used to play with my friends in my area as a striker.
“One day we went to play and we didn’t have a goalkeeper so I went into the post, and that was it.
“We won the game. And that was my first time. My friends were impressed and encouraged me to keep being in goal and that was it.”
A product of the defunct Red Bull Ghana academy, Ati-Zigi first joined Austrian side Salzburg in 2015, where he was farmed out to club feeder side Liefering.
After struggling to break into the Salzburg set-up after impressing for Liefering, the goalkeeper left for French fold Sochaux, where he played until last year when he was snapped up by St. Gallen.
At the Swiss fold, he holds the club’s No.1 spot, a privilege which saw him make 18 league appearances in his first season.
This term, the Accra-born has garnered 26 outings so far.
“When I started schooling my parents didn’t want me to play football because I was always coming home dirty. So my mum didn’t want me to continue playing,” said the shot-stopper.
“She encouraged me to study, so I wanted to become a doctor. I made my mind up but things changed and here I am today playing football professionally.”
Ati-Zigi will be hoping to make a return to Ghana’s set-up when they assemble again in June for the commencement of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, having been left out of the recent squad that faced South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last month.