Criticisms are good, but they become destructive and undermined development when they are unfounded and not done properly. This is the situation that is staring us in the face at the moment, and if care is not taken, we would be in for a catastrophe in view of what a section of the public is doing to our national no.1 goalkeeper, Richard Kingson.
Kingson has come under some harsh attacks ever in the history of Ghana, and I think there is no justification for any Ghanaian to be that insensitive towards the national hero, therefore such attacks must be totally condemned. There is a saying that “whoever goes to fetch water with a pot is bound to break it”. Yes, Olele has been our water carrier for all these years, and what is his crime if he broke the water pot on few occasions?
If records, consistency, performance, commitment are the criteria to adjudge a player or a goalkeeper for that matter, then Kingson is arguably the best goalkeeper Ghana has ever seen and still is. Tell me, both past and current, who is better? He was one of the first few goalkeepers from Ghana to move abroad. He is been there for close to two decades, four nation’s cup and two World Cup appearances. He was voted the third best goalkeeper at the 2006 world cup. He is the first Ghanaian goalkeeper to play in England, a feat difficult for even players. He is the most capped player for Ghana. Are all these a fluke? So if we have a goalkeeper with this track record and experience, what more could be ask for?
What does his critics has against him?
We have seen many big name goalkeepers committing howlers, ridiculous and unprofessional mistakes that led to painful defeats against their teams, but they were forgiven, encouraged and allowed to continue till they retire peacefully. The list of goalkeepers with this infamous record is endless. But we can remind ourselves with some few, Peter Shilton and David James of England, Fabian Bathez of France, Jose Gonzalez Chilavert of Paraguay, Antoinne Bell and Nkono of Cameroon. These are professional and excellent shot stoppers, but made countless unprofessional errors throughout their careers. However, they are heroes back in their homelands, so why can’t we do same here?
If the critics of Kingson think he is too old then they better shut up, because with goalkeeping, it is proven that the older you are the better. Again the list of goalkeepers that performed excellently in their old age at the highest level is without end. Peter Shilton, Peter Scheimichel, Oliver Khan, Edwin Van der Sar and many, many others. But at 33, is Richard Kingson too old? Remember that we still have his age group and older ones still in the business. El Hadari of Egypt, Mark Schwzar of Australia, Gianluigi Buffon and many others readily come mind.
I have no doubt that Kingson’s recent troubles started after he was abused by a fan at training on the eve of the match against Congo, where he even threatened to quit out of frustration. I watched an interview granted by Ali Jaraa, a former national goalkeeper, on one of the TV stations recently, and one significant comment he passed was that goalkeepers are judged not by the mistakes they make but by their overall performance, because mistakes are bound to be made since they goalkeepers are humans and their potion of the field is critical. Aside that, we all saw his sterling exploits with Blackpool in the just ended English Premier League, where he was voted player of the month at a point. He was only let down on some occasions by his team’s porous defence. He let in only one goal in the ongoing African cup qualifiers, incidentally the one which sparked all these.
Now it is clear that a section of the public want Kingson out of the national team not because he is not performing but because he has overshadowed their favourites for too long. But the million dollar question is; do their so called favourites have what it takes to step in?
We saw liberty’s Patrick Antwi when he got his chance against Mexico in London, he gifted them a goal and we eventually lost a match we were not supposed to. Daniel Agyei was awful against Bosnia-Herzegovina in a friendly we lost 2-1. He recently admitted in an interview that “Kingson is a great keeper and needs to be there so we can learn from him before we gradually step in”. The overhyped William Amanoo got his turn against Japan in a game which was just over 50 minutes old with Ghana 2 – 0 up. He conceded 4 cheap goals in less than 20 minutes and the rest was history. At the World Cup when Stephen Ahorlu deputised for Kingson, it was a collective prayers for Kingson to remain fit throughout the competition because your guess was as good as mine. Now people started talking about Ernest Sowah of Brekum Chelsea, but you and I know that he is not there yet. Sammy Adjei who appears the favourite is no longer the Sammy Adjei we knew sometime back. So now the question again is who?
Just as much as I agree that we need a change, it should not be just a change but one that must be best for Ghana. Delightfully, we heard Kwarasay has just been cleared by FIFA to play for Ghana. Let’s just hope and pray that he is the perfect replacement we are looking for. We cannot start to rejoice yet, having Amamoo’s experience in mind.
I would pull down my curtain here, however we must be cautious with such attacks because it might be meant for Kingson but indirectly it could go against Ghana since we don’t have a ripe replacement for now should he decide to quit. If you ask me, I think that so long as Kingson continues to perform at the highest level, let’s keep and encourage him until someone gradually takes over from him.
Source: Lewis Nenyewode Numekevor Email: [email protected]
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