Sports News of Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Former Black Stars goalkeepers’ trainer Abukari Damba has attributed Ghana’s penalties woes to players not having the mental fortitude to cope with the pressure that comes with effecting kicks.
According to the former Black Stars goalie, players and coaches may commit themselves to perfecting the act of taking spot kicks, however, circumstances beyond their control could prevent them from successfully taking it during matches.
Damba, who described the situation as a ‘perennial challenge’, said continuous practice and conscious efforts are required to break the hoodoo.
He urged his fellow coaches to make penalty shootouts a key part of their training sessions and work on the psyche of players ahead of shootouts.
“I will not term it as a problem. It’s a perennial challenge and we admit that historically we’ve not done well. Penalty shootout in itself should be an integral part of every training session”.
“Penalty shootouts require a lot of skill and quality but overall it requires a lot of confidence. You can be the best player but still miss out during shootouts because of certain reasons which go beyond coaches sometimes. Coaches can pick the best of players, they perform well but during shootouts they miss out and we can set examples of top-class players who missed out at the world cup”, he told GhanaWeb.
Damba’s comment comes on the back of the Black Stars’ B’s defeat to Senegal in the final of the 2019 WAFU Nations Cup.
Augustine Okrah, Fatawu Mohammed and Justice Blay all missed their kicks as Senegal lifted the trophy with a 3-1 victory.
Damba has singled out Kotoko midfielder Justice Blay for his rather unconventional steps in the lead up to his kick.
Blay failed miserably at replicating a style associated with Chelsea and Italian midfielder Jorginho and Damba has slammed him for that.
“The third shooter of the penalties at the just ended WAFU, it was not something good see. I don’t think he approached it with all the seriousness required. He did not show desire to put the ball behind the net”. If you approach the ball with all the seriousness and you miss it, everybody knows that you tried your best but somehow you missed it. You must know you are representing the country and its serious business”, he said.