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Soccer News Tue, 8 Jan 2019

Felix Annan: The magical hands often overlooked

Goalkeeping is one of football’s most quintessential positions, as such goalkeepers are always on the borderline of making the next match-winning save or committing the most costly howler. They are always under the magnifying glass.

Perfecting the art of goalkeeping, Kotoko's Felix Annan is arguably the best goalkeeper in the Ghana right now. Born on November 22, 1994, his reflexes and quick feet off the line have been assets that give the Porcupines Warriors hope and confidence, making them a good team and a soccer betting site's favourite

Journalists are often accused of over-hyping players who put up a great display in a single game but Annan’s praise and adulations are as a result of consistent showing of incredible goalkeeping skills which date back to his loan spell with Medeama SC.

The Ghana Premier League (GPL) has been on recess since June last year after Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ exposé and as you may have heard, the quality of the GPL has been waning over the years but Annan happens to be one of the players whose talents shed a positive light on Ghana’s domestic and top flight league.

It is however heart-aching that when it comes to Black Stars call-ups Annan is often overlooked and on the few occasions that has been called, he has been restricted and consigned to the substitute bench.

In the last three seasons, Annan has produced match winning performances and his status as the best goalkeeping talent in the country cannot be argued.

It is still a mystery why the best goalkeeper on the local scene is consistently snubbed by the handlers of the national team. This situation perhaps is a reflection of the little regard the national team coaches have for local players.

Note that as at the 10th of May, 2018 before the GPL was truncated, Annan had won three man-of-the-match awards in the Premier League.

Surprisingly, he was excluded from Ghana’s AFCON qualifier against Kenya but his reaction was assuredly calm. “I am not worried for not getting a call-up to the Black Stars for Ghana’s clash against Kenya,” he said. “I believe at the right time, I will be given an invitation to play for the team, so I will continue to work hard.”

Annan may not be bothered by the constant snubs he get from coach Kwesi Appiah and his technical team but as an avid follower of the local game and the Black Stars you have to be worried that the best goalkeeper in our league does not merit a place in our national team.

At some point, Richard Kingson, who is the Goalkeepers trainer for the Black Stars said, “Felix Annan is one of the best goalkeepers in the country and I believe that he still has a chance with the Black Stars. The fact that we didn’t invite him doesn’t mean he’s totally out of the national team. Let’s encourage him because he has a bright future.”

Isn’t it ironical that a goalkeeper considered to be amongst the best in the country is overlooked for national team selection?

For a very long time, the underlying condition(s) for the selection of players into the Black Stars has been under intense scrutiny from various public circles and with regard to Kwesi Appiah’s recent selection, the doubts and questions still linger on.

The reflex king had certainly made a strong statement in the early stages of the suspended Ghana Premier League season, not only with the performance against WAFA but also in the CAF Confederation Cup qualifier against CARA Club of Brazzaville, where he saved 3 penalties over two legs, and stepped up to score his penalty kick, an indicator of his mental strength.

Kotoko are on a continental mission, representing Ghana in the CAF Confederation Cup and once again Annan’s heroics have earned him praise from one of the continent’s most respected football administrators.

Kariobangi Sharks of Kenya chairman, Mr Robert Mayorga lauded the qualities of the Kotoko goalie after the Reds played a drawn game with the Sharks at the Moi International Stadium.

"Kotoko has good team full of talents. We identified three of their players during the first league in Kumasi. Their no. 10 [Songne Yacouba], winger [Emmanuel Gyamfi] and their goalkeeper [Felix Annan] were a delight to watch. The goalkeeper [Felix Annan] is one of the best in Africa" Mayorga told Nhyira FM.

Annan is most definitely one to watch this season and will be a key factor if Kotoko are to qualify to the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup. Kotoko’s last hurdle to the money zone of the competition is against Cotton Sport of Cameroon and Annan is a sure bet for a starting role.

With Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah set to name his team for the 2019 AFCON, one name that every Ghanaian would be betting on is Felix Annan being part of three goalkeepers Ghana will submit to CAF.

The Black Stars may have Richard Ofori and others but don’t be surprised to see Felix Annan taking charge of the post, frustrating opposing attacks from scoring in the 2019 AFCON.

Source: Collins Prah
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