The remarkable story of how Ghana’s Ekow Boye-Doe fought against odds to play in the Super Bowl

Ekow Boye Doe/Photo: Ekow Boye Doe via instagram

Ekow Boye-Doe’s family was initially opposed to him pursuing a football career. His older brothers, twins Panyin and Kakra, were not permitted to play football when the family relocated to Lawrence, Kansas, in the United States.

It was the hope that Ekow would turn up as a lawyer while his two brothers pursued career dreams in accountancy and medicine. But, according to his mother, the family had no option but to bend towards Ekow’s unwavering passion for football.

“The first time I saw football on TV, it was like, ‘What the heck?! What kind of game is this?'” Valentina Boye-Doe, Ekow’s mother, said in an interview with KSNT. Sports, particularly American football, were not ingrained in the Ghanaian family’s cultural heritage, as reported by the platform.

The family respected only one core principle, which was for each member of the Boye-Doe family to aspire to excel on the academic ladder.

“The three principles in the house were education, education, education,” explained Valentina.

“In my family tree, we are engrossed in education,” added Kofi Boye-Doe, Ekow’s dad. “If you ask anybody that knows me, they will say, ‘Boye-Doe is all about education.’ So, why would you play football?”

Kofi, the father of Ekow, had envisioned a scholarly path for his sons, with hopes of Ekow becoming a lawyer to complete a trio of successful sons. However, Ekow harbored different ambitions. His talent, recognized by his older brothers during local games, prompted them to orchestrate a persuasive effort involving a neighbor, a coach, and a fundraising campaign to facilitate Ekow’s entry into football.

Despite his father’s aspirations, Ekow’s passion for football took precedence. “Our neighbor, Christopher, played football, so they tried to get Pak [Ekow] on the team,” explained Panyin.

“Ekow’s football coach Dave Conway… the Conway family is the reason why Ekow plays football,” added Kofi.

Despite initial hesitations, the family rallied behind Ekow’s football aspirations, with his twin brothers organizing a fundraising campaign to cover the registration fee for the Lawrence football league. However, Ekow faced setbacks when he aimed to play Power Five football at the University of Kansas (KU) but didn’t receive the opportunity, despite his father’s efforts to persuade KU coaches.

Despite not being highly recruited out of high school, Ekow built a reputation for himself over five seasons with Kansas State. Challenges however persisted on draft day in 2023, where Ekow was left devastated as the anticipated call or a free-agent contract didn’t materialize.

“After the draft, I saw my son… he was so devastated,” recounted his mother.

Despite the setbacks, Ekow remained steadfast in the pursuit of his dreams.

“I look at him and I’m like, ‘Okay son… what is the next step for plan B?’ He goes ‘FOOTBALL MOM.’

An opportunity arose when the Kansas City Chiefs extended an invitation to their rookie minicamp, providing a temporary lifeline. However, with only two contracts offered from the invitations, the odds seemed daunting, as explained by Panyin.

Despite initial challenges, Ekow persevered, initially released during final preseason roster cuts but later signed to the practice squad and eventually promoted to the Chiefs’ active roster in late November.

He has now become one of the few Ghanaian players to win a Super Bowl ring, marking a remarkable journey fueled by determination.

“It’s been a fun journey, but the cards were stacked against him. I don’t think he was supposed to be here,” Panyin added.

Ekow’s story, as described by his older brother, epitomizes resilience and hard work, inspiring globally. Kofi expressed his belief that Ekow’s participation in the Super Bowl will elevate the game’s status worldwide, portraying it as a Cinderella story.

He is optimistic that Ekow’s journey conveys a universal message: “That story is remarkable, and it’s not only for Ekow and Ghanaians and people internationally. It’s also telling every young kid that whatever your talent is if you work hard, you are going to be recognized.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 13, 2024


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