Ghana midfielder Salis Abdul Samed is poised to achieve a significant milestone in his career on Wednesday night when RC Lens face off against the UEFA Europa League champions, Sevilla, in the Champions League. This marks the French club’s return to the competition after a two-decade absence.
At the tender age of 22, the talented player was part of the renowned JMG Academy just four years ago, but his ascent to the pinnacle of the sport has been astonishingly swift.
His remarkable journey began with an impressive loan spell at Clermont Foot, where he caught the eye with his performances. Subsequently, he secured a permanent transfer to the French club, swiftly establishing himself as one of their most indispensable players.
Initially kicking off his professional career with Clermont Foot B, he rapidly ascended to become the first team’s primary midfielder, accumulating an impressive 41 appearances.
His exceptional performances eventually captured the attention of RC Lens, a team that had only recently returned to top-flight football just three seasons ago. RC Lens, however, proved to be the ideal environment for the central midfielder, who made the move to the former French champions in the summer of 2022, for a fee of approximately €5 million signing a five-year contract.
Salis Abdul Samed’s rapid elevation in professional football took a highly positive turn when he finally received his senior call-up to the Black Stars instantly leaving a significant mark to secure his place in the national team. Despite not being involved in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the former Clermont Foot midfielder got the nod to feature in one of the pre-tournament friendlies against Switzerland on November 17 2022 where he lasted the full-throttle. In that game, he played the full duration and received praise from fans, who recognised him as one of the standout performers of the match.
He later formed a strong partnership with Thomas Partey for all of Ghana’s three matches at the World Cup- one of the few players who earned praise in Ghana’s poor campaign.
Upon his return to his club, he continued to be a significant contributor, closely trailing eventual champions Paris St-Germain. His unwavering consistency garnered him numerous accolades, including the prestigious title of the best French Ligue 1 midfielder of the season by Get French Football News, a respected media outlet in France.
Furthermore, he was recognised as one of the top eleven players in the Football News agency’s statistical survey. In this esteemed list, he shared the spotlight with football luminaries such as Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar, among other top performers in the season, following his impressive 31 appearances.
Furthermore, Salis Abdul Samed was also in contention for the prestigious Marc Vivien Foe Award, an honour named after the late Cameroonian international, which recognises the best African player competing in the French Ligue 1. Although he made a commendable effort, he narrowly missed out on the award, receiving fewer votes than Olympique Marseille’s DR Congo defender, Chancel Mbemba.
Nonetheless, RC Lens achieved remarkable success by securing the second position in the 2022/23 French Ligue campaign, finishing just behind PSG. This achievement marked a significant milestone for the club as it granted them entry back into the Champions League after a two-decade hiatus.
The Black Stars midfielder was later rewarded with a contract extension which would see him at the club until 2028 with the team hoping to see more of his interceptions, passes and remarkable tackling attempts in competitions like the Champions League and Ligue 1.
With all preparations in place, fans can anticipate a historic night at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, with the highly-awaited match set to kick off at 19:00 GMT.