Kevin Prince Boateng and Jerome Boateng could be playing against each other
Der Spiegel has a must read article on the Boateng brothers.
Kevin Prince Boateng was one of the heroes in Pompey’s David toppling Goliath victory over Spurs in the FA Cup. He smashed his spot kick past Heurelho Gomes sending Pompey over his former club, to the finals. He is also likely to play for Ghana in this year’s World Cup after completing some formalities.
A 1000 km away, Jerome Boateng his half brother plays for Hamburg and is considered a top German talent on defense.
The two brothers who share a common father could be on opposite sides of the field when Germany meet Ghana on June 23rd at Johannesburg in a Group D encounter.
Both started their professional careers at Hertha Berlin where Kevin Prince honed his skills as an attacking midfielder and Jerome learned the tricks and trade of a center back. Three years later both brothers departed on a separate trajectory as Kevin Prince made his way into the Premier League after making a number of appearances for the German junior teams. Jerome stayed behind in the Bundesliga.
Somewhere down the line, the brothers decided to represent different countries. Kevin Prince seems to have made the decision to switch to his country of origin, whereas, Jerome was drawn to the country of his birth. In one of life’s strange twists, Kevin Prince is related through his mother to Helmut Rahn, the legendary German striker. Rahn, his great uncle scored the “Miracle of Bern” in the 1954 World Cup final against the Mighty Magyars.
The two brothers could not be more different with contrasting playing styles and personalities. Kevin Prince is flashy and flamboyant while Jerome is disciplined and discerning. Kevin Prince developed a reputation as a troublemaker with a short fuse who was shipped out by Harry Redknapp because of his incessant partying and late arrivals at training practice.
Just weeks after joining Pompey, Kevin Prince was fined for £50,000 for thirteen counts of criminal damage in Berlin for smashing up cars after a night out. Meanwhile, brother Jerome kept a low profile spending more time on the pitch as his mother Martina warned him not to look up to Kevin Prince as a role model.
Growing up in the tough environment of Wedding, a Berlin suburb reputed for its high unemployment and crime rates seem to have played a part in Kevin Prince’s desire to standout. His older brother, George, also a talented player interviewed by Der Spiegel admits that he was not an ideal role model during Kevin Prince’s impressionable years.
If Kevin Prince does get to play for Ghana, he may bring the same anger and desire against Germany, witnessed in the match against Spurs, a club that rejected him. That maybe because on the last training day of the German U21 camp, he found out that he was eliminated from the squad. His brother Jerome was selected.
Matthias Sammer, the sports director of the German Football Association, puts it this way: “A lack of discipline and egotism can be discerned in Kevin-Prince. When it comes to his athletic and mental constitution, Jerome is the stronger player.” In other words one brother is a good fit for Germany, while the other is not.
Jerome Boateng too could have played for Ghana but he chose not to. His reason:
“Because it doesn’t make any sense. Germany is my home. I like the people here, and the mentality,” he says.
Revenge vs Reason. Two contrasting styles and personalities on the field. Two different motivating factors for each brother. Jerome Boateng is clear however, if he is the last player to stop his Kevin Prince from scoring, he will do so without compunction.