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Profile of John Mensah

John Mensah is a product of the enormously proficient scouting system in Ghana that identifies talented youngsters long before they enter any formal structures and exports them to potential fame and fortune in Europe.

A centre-half by choice, Mensah is also adept at left-back and has played in both positions for his national side, also captaining the team on occasions.

His physique has earned him the moniker the �Rock of Djiporta�, and Mensah was considered a certainty to be named in the Black Stars� squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

The 23-year-old�s first foreign adventure was as a wide-eyed teenager, when he moved to Italy to join Bologna. The Serie A outfit recognised his talent, but also saw that his was potential in its rawest form and, as such, loaned him to Swiss side Bellinzona, where it was hoped that he would hone his talents.

The arrangement proved beneficial to both clubs and also to the player himself, and it was during his time in Switzerland that Mensah was called up for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina, where Ghana finished as runners-up to the host nation in a thrilling tournament.

The following season, he returned to Serie B on loan with Genoa before being purchased on a permanent basis by Chievo Verona in the summer of 2002.

A brief spell with Modena punctuated a moderately successful three-year stint in Verona, but, following another uneventful move to Cremonese, Mensa came to the conclusion that a new environment was what was required to kick-start his career. And how right he was.

This season�s move to Rennes has breathed new life into the Ghanaian�s play, with his uncompromising style earning him a reputation in France as one of Ligue 1�s toughest defenders. Rennes, at the behest of their former player Philippe Redon, had bought him to fill the gap in defence caused by an injury to another African, the Moroccan Abdeslam Ouaddah, and Mensah now looks like holding on to the position for years to come.

On the international scene, Mensah�s senior debut for the Black Stars came on the eve of the 2002 CAF African Cup of Nations finals in Mali, a tournament at which his aerial ability was a prominent feature of Ghana�s play. Since then, he has been a regular for the national team and now has 39 caps. He recently participated in his second Nations Cup tournament and was solidity personified during Ghana�s qualifying campaign for Germany 2006.

Mensah has also remained true to the African tradition of helping one�s extended family, using his earnings from football to support his parents, two sisters and also his three brothers, whom he has sought to educate in Italy.

Personal information

Full name : John Mensah

Date of birth : November_29, 1982 (age 24)

Place of birth : Obuasi , Ghana

Position : Centre back

Current club : Rennes FC

Number : 25


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