A player’s day — and his career — could be ruined by a moment’s unwitting expression of fallibility, as these five guys would concede
By: Sammie Frimpong & Jimmy Aidoo
Abdoulaye Soulama, after letting in arguably the softest goal he ever has (having the last touch, too, in such style) when the only two clubs that have employed him in Ghana clashed in the nation’s biggest domestic fixture last Monday, must have felt in a miserable world of his own. In truth, though, he’s far from alone. The history of the Ghanaian game abounds with figures who have also known that sinking feeling, and here we profile five of the most embarrassing/annoying/defining instances.
ANTWI’S PRIVATE DAY OF DOOM
It was the 27th of March, 2008, when, against Mexico in a friendly, Patrick Antwi got a rare chance to stand in between the sticks after regulars Sammy Adjei and Richard Kingson were both indisposed.
Ghana got off to a bright start and were duly rewarded with a Michael Essien strike. Determined to hold on to that slender lead, the Black Stars employed a constipated possession style which was never fully explained. The team funnelled backward in a giant zig-zag formation, travelling some 50m in the wrong direction until a final back-pass from Essien into the shin of Antwi fell kindly to lurking Carlos Salcido and. . . bam!
Some eight years later, poor Antwi has not even come within a 10-mile radius of the Stars.
FROM ISSAH TO THE ZAMBEZI. . . WITH LOVE
One of the saddest days in the annals of Ghana football saw the Black Stars put to the sword by Zimbabwe in their final Afcon 2006 group game. That ill-fated contest would mainly be recalled for defender Issah Ahmed getting into bizarrely creative mood, revealing a side of his game we had never seen before. How and why he chose that occasion, though, is a tale fit only for the gods.
Among others in his comedy of errors on the day, he made one goal and scored another, albeit at the wrong end of the pitch, and resigned the Stars to a humiliating exit.
That heavily flawed performance would sound the death knell for Ahmed’s stint in national colours.
If ever you lose belief in the cruelty of the sport known as football, kindly visit YouTube and enter the following keywords into the ‘Search’ box: Sammy Kuffour, World Cup, own goal, Italy, disaster. The first video that would be produced is likely one that may melt even the hardest hearts.
There goes good old Kuffour, a Ghanaian great bar none, unwittingly turning an attempted ball to his goalkeeper into an assist for Vincenzo Ianquita at the 2006 Fifa World Cup, sealing a loss for Ghana in its first appearance at the Mundial and simultaneously ending a rather fine international career somewhat prematurely.
But, heck, on the very German soil he crafted his impeccable legend on? Ha, life!
HAVE A GO, RON!
After a cool display against Germany, Fatau Dauda was in reasonably fine fettle as Ghana headed into a must-win concluding Group G game against Portugal at the World Cup two years ago. Inspired, he pulled off a brilliant reflex save from Cristiano Ronaldo and made a show of it with some wild celebration.
But, as happens when you bank your hopes too much on a certain spiritualist, Dauda soon reversed stunningly, appearing almost apologetic for his earlier denial of Ronaldo when he palmed a soft one into the Portuguese’s path and subsequently conceded the winner.
BOYE, OH, BOYE!
Portugal’s other goal in said encounter with the Stars was another gift, this time from a player who, just hours prior, had set himself up as the perfect villain if things didn’t go Ghana’s way. With hindsight, however, it’s probably a good thing Boye was caught on camera kissing his share of the booty that sabotaged Ghana’s tournament the night before said game; that’s the only reason why many would forget how ridiculously spectacular his failed scissor-kick comically ended up beyond dashing Dauda, no?