Meet Ghana's top 5 goalkeepers vying for AFCON tickets
Football has emerged so fast that reliability is placed on the goalkeeper as far as modern football is concerned. They serve as the 'last man standing' to rescue the defense. Not only is he supposed to be the match decider but a game starter.
Of course, the quality of goalkeeping in Ghana has been on a downward spiral for quite some time but that doesn't mean that there is a genuine lack of talent in the country. Maritzburg United Richard Ofori is one of such admirable talent notable to mention in Ghana.
Not only do we have the former WA All-Stars goalie but the abundant talent in Razak Abalora, first choice goalkeeper for Azam FC in Tanzania topflight, Nana Bonsu of Nigerian Premier League side Enugu Rangers, Asante Kotoko's Felix Annan and Lawrence Ati Zigi of Sochaux.
As an analyst and researcher aside being a football fan, I quiz the formalities when players are called to the senior national team, the Black Stars without justifications. I oversee a lot than talents in the aforementioned stars but at a time.
I will take player by player and their consistency in their various clubs. Though there is a belief that the national team call up of some players goes beyond their performance at club level. How on earth does this count? When you have less playing time at club level and expects to cement a place in the Black Stars ahead of a player who plays full throttle week in, week out for his club.
The following goalkeepers have their club performance and statistics outlined as they are due for selection to Egypt for the Total African Cup of nations 2019.
Richard Ofori - Maritzburg United I will begin with Richard Ofori of Maritzburg United who undoubtedly may stand exceptional in mending the Black Stars goal post ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations slated for June-July 2019. He is the No. 1 for the South African club since signing in the 2017-18 season. Richard starred 27 times for the Team of Choice last season and 21 appearances so far in the ongoing Premier Soccer League. He has conceded 22 goals along the way and currently placed bottom of the league table with 14 points. Ofori has been in post for the Stars four times in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers. He is 25-years-old with a height of 1.89m.
Razak Abalora - Azam FC Razak Abalora, former West Africa Football Academy(WAFA) shot-stopper is yet another talent in-depth for the country to count on. He left the scene of Ghana Premier League in the 2017/18 season to Tanzania giants Azam FC as a first choice goalkeeper. He left a mark of 12 clean sheets in the first round of the above season before joining Azam. This year, Razak has kept the highest number of clean sheets in the domestic league. The 22-year-old goalkeeper easily mended the East African outfit post as the number one in his first season, where he appeared 29 times for the club recording 15 clean sheets in the Mainland Tanzania Premier League. His performance equaled a mark which was set in 2014 by Manula of Simba FC then with Prisons FC.
Razark Abalora is in his second year with the club having signed 3-years to play with them.He has kept in between the sticks 21 times and conceded 10-goals along with 13 clean sheets, currently placed 2nd on the league log.
It is an undisputable fact that numbers speak for itself. In our operations as sports pundits, statistics cannot depart us unless one wants to let go. Five times UEFA champions league winner Cristiano Ronaldo said; "I don't speak much the numbers are there to speak for itself".
Lawrence Ati-Zigi - Sochaux Third, on the list is Lawrence Ati-Zigi of Sochaux in France Ligue II. The Ghanaian though is having a tough time in Sochaux but his qualities cannot be overlooked. He is the second goalkeeper to Maxence Prévot. He has been restricted to the bench and played only seven times for Sochaux from 2017 to 2018. In the ongoing 2019 season, Ati Zigi has registered 5 appearances and recorded two clean sheets in all competitions. The ex-Ghana U-20 safest pair of hands penned a three-year contract with the French Lig 2 side last year. Ati was Ghana’s first choice at the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Felix Annan - Asante Kotoko Fourth on the bill is Felix Annan, the face of Kumasi Asante Kotoko Sporting Club. The force behind the Porcupine Warriors serging run in the CAF Confederation Cup. He's been impressive for the Reds and some believe he stands poised for a call-up to the stars camp. The local league has been on hold since the Anas exposè, hence hasn't had enough game time to merit a national team call up. The Red-hot goalkeeper has this season played seven times for Kotoko and conceded in six games, a total of nine goals. He earned a senior team debut call up to the Black Stars last year for the AFCON qualifiers.
Nana Bonsu - Enugu Rangers Last but not least, is Enugu Rangers of Nigeria's first choice goalkeeper Nana Bonsu. He has been consistent for Rangers in the domestic campaign and in Africa as well. The former Ghana U-17 goalkeeper has been between the sticks for the Nigerian Premier side in the Caf confederation cup 8 times with four clean sheets and two clean sheets in four NPFL league games so far this season.