Bundesliga News

New Paderborn signing Kelvin Ofori:
His journey from Ghana to the Bundesliga

By Matias Bengolo   @scpaderbornen

From playing on his local clay pitch to forgetting his boots for his biggest trial, here is Kelvin Ofori's journey to German football.
Kelvin Ofori.
Kelvin Ofori.Photo: SC Paderborn
Kelvin Ofori was born on 27th July 2001 in Kumasi, Ghana to mother Mary, who sold plastic bags, and to father Michael, a car mechanic. How was he given the ‘Right to Dream’?

His Right to Dream – 2011 to 2019

He joined the organisation ‘Right to Dream’ in 2011 and played there until 2019. Founded in 1999, Right to Dream started as training a small group of boys and then grew into a residential school and training centre. The company is free-to-join and essentially gives opportunities to people from poorer backgrounds. It started in Ghana but has facilities in Egypt and Denmark now. The Ghanaian Right to Dream programme regularly travels to Europe and participates in the Manchester United Premier Cup, where all ages play against youth teams from Manchester United, Juventus, PSG and Real Madrid. In 2015, Right to Dream won the whole cup for the first time in their history. If players can’t find a club, they are given scholarships to the USA or UK.

Fortuna Düsseldorf – 2019 to 2021

Ofori was on trial with German club Fortuna Düsseldorf. He arrived late on July 17, 2019 after a 48-hour trip which started in Marrakesh, Casablanca to London, Munich and then finally Maria Alm, Austria where Fortuna were doing their pre-season training camp. After a mix-up, Ofori came to his huge trial without boots, Fortuna found a spare pair in a shed and they were one and a half sizes too big. Ofori was seen by a scout when he was playing on his local red clay pitch and before he made his trip to central Europe, he filmed what his living conditions were like. The video clip showed his one-storey building and then his bedroom which accommodated him and his five siblings.

How he was given a chance in Düsseldorf

After his successful trial, Ofori was given a full 90 minutes against Anderlecht in a friendly and scored the winning goal on 78 minutes, to the delight of his father who had never seen his son play organised football before, he recorded the full match on his mobile phone and cheered when Ofori put the winner home. He made his first competitive appearance in a DFB-Pokal match at FC 08 Villingen – where he scored his first competitive goal. He then was given the opportunity to play Bundesliga football, he made his debut in a match against Mainz 05 for 11 minutes he will never forget.

SC Paderborn 07 – 2021 to 2024 contract

Ofori has now moved to Paderborn and he will certainly get a lot more opportunities after the departures of Christopher Antwi-Adjei and Marco Terrazzino. The left-footed trickery attacker can play in all three positions in attack.

His contract is for three years and with Sven Michel the only player who can really play in the left-winger position at the moment, it might not be long until Kelvin Ofori is first choice winger.

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