The role of goalkeepers in the football makes them nearly an indispensable part of a team’s scheme of things such that, any mistake they make leave coaches furious, break supporters' hearts and definitely get the media on with their critical lenses. When the mistakes are repetitive they give cause for concern.
That's why I'm concerned about Razak Abalora's careless mistakes. Goalkeepers are not small cogs. They are no minor players. They man the post. Essentially prevent goals from being scored. A goalkeeper can save a team from defeat by his timely judgment, excellent anticipation and overall response to sticky situations.
A goalkeeper who exhibits poor anticipation and bad timing and is, additionally unable to decide confidently, what he must do with a shot (especially when the shot is harmless and goes on to concedes culminating in his team’s defeat), like we saw of Razak Abalora in the Morocco-Ghana friendly on Tuesday, deserves criticism.
Coach C. K. Akonnor might want to rest Abalora to give the chance to others and encourage the Asante Kotoko goalkeeper to buck up. There shouldn’t be too much fuss if he's dropped. We don’t have to normalise goalkeeping mistakes but while rejecting Abalora's mistakes, I’m irked by the sheer glee with which we want to crucify him.
Criticisms of Abalora should aim at reforming him, not to destroy his confidence. There’s no guarantee that whoever takes over from him won’t commit mistakes. Would we have an unending cycle of changing goalkeepers for the one or two mistakes they make? We should help him to get the work done properly, not yo harm his psyche.
It’s time Abalora’s trainer sits up. It’s either he's isn’t helping him adequately or that, the goalie isn’t learning well enough. Any way you look at it, Abalora must minimise if not eliminate his mistakes. In his book the Principles of Modern Soccer Coaching, CAF and FIFA Instructor, Ben Koufie lists 12 vital points for goalkeepers.
A relevant part of the late GFA Chairman's book to this write-up is where he talks about goalkeepers having the ability to read games and react well. Under “Principles of Play – Defensive and Offensive”, Ben Koufie stresses the importance of playing safe at the rear; communication and concentration in the goal area.
He further states with no ambiguity: “Never give the ball away in the penalty area”. Unfortunately, that’s what Razak Abalora did in Morocco. He’s now on the table at the slaughterhouse. Let’s spare him the sharp knives drawn to cut his throat. Rather, let’s teach him again and again, and help him to recover for our greater good.