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Goalkeepers must react not anticipate during penalty shootouts – Abukari Damba

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Wed, 16 Jun 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

• Damba believes penalty-taking is science

• He has advised goalkeepers to react to penalties and not anticipate

• He says with constant practice, Ghanaian goalkeepers will master the art of saving penalties

Former Black Stars goalkeeper Abukari Damba has opined the act of taking and saving penalties are scientific not just some lottery.

The penalty topic is a divisive one in Ghana football, whereas some hold that penalties are a matter of luck and that saving or scoring penalties boils down to how lucky one is, others hold that there is a science behind penalty that requires constant training of the body and the mind for perfection.

The latter believe that to master the art of scoring penalties, a player ought to learn and practice consistently.

But speaking on GhanaWeb’s Sports Check program, Damba said he agreed that there is a science behind penalties and that he trains his goalkeepers to understand that science.

He revealed that it was better for a goalkeeper to react to kicks because to anticipate what a player will do from the spot will be wrong.

"I do penalty training nearly almost every day. Penalties come with a lot of confidence but if I want to teach my goalkeepers, I tell them, you react to the situation and not anticipate because if you want to rely on anticipation, you’ll always get it wrong. You have to react to the situation.

“Your reaction must be quick and very fast. The position of the goalkeeper, body position of the goalkeeper and the feet which must always be shoulder width apart to allow you either collapse or do a take-off. These are all taught and keepers must learn it. As a keeper you must be very explosive.

“There are players who target a certain direction and hit the ball as hard as it could get, so if you are a keeper and you dive in that direction, you must get a strong hand on it to bring the ball out. You must dive across the ball. These are all technical abilities that must be taught,” he said.

Damba also emphasized the need for goalkeepers’ trainers to gather knowledge about general football coaching.

“I was once a goalkeeper and I specialized in goalkeeping but now I’m a full-fledged general coach. If you want to be a very good goalkeepers’ trainer, you must have knowledge in general coaching.

“You must understand strategy, you must understand plan and must understand system of play because football is functional and goalkeepers are part of the game. In as much as I’m a specialist in the goalkeeping department, I juxtapose that against the totality of the game. I deal with the functional aspect of goalkeepers as well.”

Source: www.ghanaweb.com