Our local strikers must learn to score goals – Michael Kessey

I cannot express the extent to which football loving fans in Ghana have developed interest in the round leather ball called football. I strongly believe the only thing that makes it enjoyable and exciting game is the goals. I am saddened by the fact that our local strikers are not ready to learn how to score goals easily to make their numerous fans happy. Sometimes, I wonder whether they deserve to be called strikers looking at the rate at which they squander begging chances that come their way in matches they feature. I find it difficult to understand how they take delight in playing the “entertaining or samba” football instead of playing for goals. To the best of my knowledge and understanding as a former player football is all about scoring goals to make our fans happy to have value for their money. What at all did they offer their fans when they play the entertaining or fine football and in the end, lose the match and their numerous fans go unconscious, sad and dejected to the extent that majority of them fails to eat a delicious meal prepared by their wives. Also some fans go to the extent of committing suicide?

The rate at which our strikers squander begging chances that come their way and later apportion blame on the referee after losing a match is something I don’t understand. These days, they have adopted their own style different from what is expected from someone who calls himself a striker. They want to make their goals beautiful like rose flower prepared for a wedding ceremony so that their fans will praise them. If I may ask them do we have a hideous goal in football?

When Coach Frank Rijkaard was in-charge of Barcelona FC, his player Ronaldinho used the “agon” style to score a goal which earned them the Champion’s league title. Goal scoring to the best of my football knowledge as a former player is an act which has to be learnt unceasingly. Most of these strikers we have in the on-going Star Times Premier league lack goal scoring techniques. Some of them don’t understand football that is why they don’t want to spend some little time to practice how to score goals to make them potent/ prolific strikers. The leading top goal scorer in the ongoing Star Times Premier League Nicolas Djan of Abusua Dwarfs has ten (10) goals and it is not encouraging and this clearly shows that we lack what we call potent strikers or clinical finishers. I am not surprise the current top scorer in the Ghana premier league had no place in Coach Kwasi Appiah’s squad. The strikers we have on the local scene are psychologically bankrupt with no direction. They take delight in taking names of top class players in Europe as their nicknames without spending their time to get videos of these players to watch how they score goals to improve their goal scoring abilities.

These strikers have heard on many occasions that “practice makes man perfect” and yet they don’t want to practice how to score goals easily on their own without the instructions from their coaches that is why they take delight in shooting wayward rather than placing the ball accurately in a yawning net. We have had the likes of Abukari “goal na ma hwehwe” Akwasi Owusu, George Alhassan, John Essien, Anthony Yegola Yeboah, Opoku Nti , Opoku Afriyie and many others who took the pain to practice how to score goals .The above mentioned old players were potent strikers because they were ready to learn something from their seniors, but today how many of our local strikers will even care to look for the likes of Opoku Affriyie, Anthony Yeboah, Opoku Nti and many others to even seek for advice. They don’t know how to even place themselves in a good position for a pass from their play mates. Also they don’t know when to shoot or place the ball into their opponents net. Strikers nowadays don’t know when to kick a ball with the inside or outside foot.

They lack shooting techniques that is why most of our strikers on the local scene shoot a ball at goal with their chest up and they don’t know the ball will definitely fly in the air like a balloon. When your chest is up and you kick a ball, your chest level gives the direction of the ball. Most of our local coaches and even expatriates have failed to teach their players on this particular issue with regards to shooting. Good old Ronaldo in his heyday in Real Madrid, had an interview with BBC Sports was quoted as saying his hobby is goal scoring and he loves it more than anything in football. A striker must be courageous whenever he is in the opponent’s 18 yard box. A striker is more than a king anytime he is in his opponents 18 yard box because you have 90% advantage than the defender who only have to foul you to commit a penalty or he leaves you to go ahead and score a goal. I don’t understand why our strikers rush to score a goal and in the end shoot wayward whenever they are in their opponents’ 18 yard box making it look as if they are being chased with clubs, machete and guns. Most of them are indecisive whenever they are in advantageous position to score.

I will at this juncture blame our football – loving fans for not given credit to players who creates the goal scoring chances but always give credit to those who score the goals. Our football loving fans have not taken their time to examine this issue of putting much pressure on their players. Players who do all the dirty works in a game to create chances for their strikers have seen their effort is not recognized by their fans that is why these days we don’t have players like John Bannerman who in an African Cup final match stood at an acute angle unhesitantly laid a pass to Opoku Nti to tap the ball into the opponents’ net for Kumasi Asante Kotoko’s victory in the 80’s. Can same be said today of the players we see in our local league.

The old “wo nkyembo” system by some of our coaches during training sections does not help our strikers at all because there wouldn’t be any time to make corrections on chances they squander on training grounds since the coach’s focus will be on his team selection for a particular match. I quite remember in the 80’s the late Coach Herbert Addo who was the then coach of Kumasi Cornerstones was able to identify the hidden potential in Anthony Yeboah so he assigned him a personal training schedule to practice how to score goals and he became a clinical finisher. Tony Yeboah was ready to score goals and he took pain to come to Asem Park as early as 2:00 pm to exercise his personal goal scoring practice before the rest of his team mates will come for the normal training section and we all saw the goals he scored for Kumasi Cornerstones and Okwahu United before he left for Europe.

These days hardly would you see our strikers scoring goals with a header because they have not taken the pain to practice how to score goals with their heads. Our strikers in the olden days were not magicians but rather took the pain to practice how to make good use of even half chances that comes their way. They train on their own without the supervision of their coach. They should use some of their salary/bonus package to buy at least five footballs and set a target like the wood work and try to shoot accurately on their own and see if they will find any difficulty in scoring goals. I will urge our strikers to also spend their little time to practice how to score goals on their own apart from their team’s normal training sessions and goals will chase them even when they slip on the pitch and their winning bonuses will find its way into their pocket.

Michael Kessey- (the unexpected- one)

(Sports analyst- GCR)