Gerald Asamoah is a former German national football team player with Ghanaian roots. He is regarded as the first African-born German to play for Die Mannschaft, the German national senior football team.
Asamoah made his debut in an international friendly against Slovakia in 2001 and even scored on his debut. Before he retired from football, he made over 40 appearances for Germany, including two World Cups in 2002 and 2006.
Asamoah’s debut for the German national team was not just an individual first and historic, but it also opened the doors for a host of a new generation of Black players in German like Serge Gnabry, Antonio Rüdiger, Thilo Kehrer and Leroy Sane.
In an interview with DW, Asamoah said people were shocked to see a Black player featuring for the German national team.
“My first world cup in Japan-Korea, I was sitting on the bench and a photographer said, ‘what are you doing here?’ And I told him I am a player, and he said: ‘You are a German? That’s crazy!’”
Asamoah said his ability to play for Germany always came under constant scrutiny as many Germans felt he was not good enough. According to him, he had to work extra hard to gain acceptance.
Years down the line, Asamoah believes his decision to play for Germany has inspired other Black footballers to play for Germany.
“Now you can see how many Blacks play for the German team.”
“I never knew it was so hard. But after I took this decision, Black people supported me, and I’m proud of doing that,” Asamoah said.
Asamoah, born on October 3, 1978, in Ghana, moved to Germany when he was only 12 years old. He always dreamt of playing football but that dream nearly derailed following complications with his heart. Doctors told him he couldn’t play football again but he made a promise to God that if he gets to play football again, he would build a heart charity foundation to glorify his name. God answered his prayers, he said.
Later in 1999, he was signed by Schalke 04 from Hannover 96 and helped his new club to win the DFB Cup in 2001 and 2002, and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2003 and 2004. Prior to that, he played for German clubs like St. Pauli, VfB Hüls, and SpVgg Greuther Fürth.
His rise in the Bundesliga earned him a call-up to the German national team after gaining German citizenship in 2001. In total, he scored 104 goals in 526 appearances for all the clubs he played for.