Who is Kenneth Aboh? Norwich forward emerging from a storm
Aboh put up impressive numbers in a dismal campaign for Norwich’s under-18s side, staking his claim to move further up the ranks come August.
It’s been another year of Deja-vu for Norwich City, suffering a record sixth relegation from the Premier League after their 2-0 loss against manager Dean Smith’s former side Aston Villa last month. It was always going to be difficult for the Canaries to maintain their status in the top flight, with their most expensive signing Milot Raschica costing just under £10million. Their lack of finances prevents them affording proven Premier League players and those brought in by ex-boss Daniel Farke such as Josh Sargent and Christopher Tzolis, both under 21 at the time, simply weren’t ready for the giant leap into World football’s most intense environment.
Their struggles are highlighted through their lack of goals, scoring a league worst 22 in 36 matches so far. The overreliance on Teemu Pukki apparent, with the Finland striker hitting 40% of his sides’ return. In strangely similar fashion, Norwich’s under-18s have experienced equally tough times, with Greg Crane’s young guns finishing bottom of the Southern League with just 20 goals all season. Again, one player managed to score 40% of the goals, and that was 17-year-old centre forward Kenneth Aboh.
Aboh shouldered the goalscoring ability admirably for his struggling side, scoring eight goals in twenty-four league appearances including a brace and 90th minute winner in a 3-2 triumph over Brighton in April. He has the same number of goals as highly rated Manchester United prospect Mani Norkett, who’s side finished 3rd in the North division. He’s continued from where he left off after five goals and three assists across eight outings in 20/21.
He signed his first professional deal with Norwich in December, and expressed his gratitude on the club’s official YouTube channel:
“I’m over the moon to sign my first professional contract at this club. I’ve been here since I was a young boy and came in after being in the school program so for me it’s a very good step to take.”
“This is a great moment for me and my family and I just hope that I can get the next one now.”
What next for Aboh?
It appears that Aboh is in line to become a more regular fixture in Alan Neilson’s under-23s come August, having already featured in two matches off the bench against Birmingham and Sunderland in previous months. The 23s enjoyed a much more successful campaign than their counterparts, finishing 5th in group 2 on goal difference to set up a play-off semi-final against Wolves. Forwards Abu Kamara and Thomas Dickson-Peters found the net regularly, bagging 28 goals between them.
With Norwich’s first team already confirmed to be in the Championship next season it’s likely that Teemu Pukki will move on having scored 21 goals in two Premier League seasons at Carrow Road. The ethos laid down by the club’s head of football development Steve Weaver has been to promote from within, turning youngsters such as Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and Ben Godfrey into established top flight players. This could lead to Kamara and Dickson-Peters progressing to Dean Smith’s side that desperately need goals. This would have a knock-on effect for Aboh, allowing him to become the 23s main forward and have a potential shot at starring in PL2 should Norwich overcome their play-off rivals.
It’s a win win for Norwich as they can replace Pukki without dipping into the transfer market and allow Aboh to showcase that he’s a more than worthy replacement for Alan Nielsen’s team, with his Pace playing off the shoulder and close control a real problem for defenders.
Aboh wants to emulate Kamara, who he spoke highly of during his contract unveiling as being a great mentor since his arrival at the club:
“He’s looked after me and been there the whole time even when I’ve had a little bit of a goal drought, he just told me to do the basics and the goal will come.
“I’m thankful for him for being such a role model because he’s doing great in the 23s right now and he’s been in a position like mine before.”
Given how well Aboh did in a goal-shy side it would be interesting to see what he could produce in a team that finished as joint top-scorers alongside champions Fulham in Group 2. Who knows, it might not be long before a Norwich academy graduate is speaking on Aboh as their role model.