The cliché goes that you have to be crazy to be a goalkeeper. But it takes a special type of crazy to be willing to play as a second choice keeper. The role of the back-up keeper is very important – so we’re told.
Without someone pushing the No.1, it’s easy to take your spot in the team for granted. When a goalkeeper signs for a club it’s made clear whether they can expect to be No.1, No.2 or No.3. That isn’t the norm in any other position.
With outfield players, every shirt is up for grabs. Even when it’s clear a player is being signed for a rotational role or to one day succeed the senior player in their position, the drop-off in quality is never as stark as in the goalkeeping depth chart.
From an outside perspective it appears to be one of the most unappreciated and unwelcome role in football. Essentially, you are being paid to sit and watch from the stands, with any chances to feature in the first team significantly hard to come by.
The Ghanaian Premier League has thrilled the football family since the days of yore. The 2019/2020 season is no exception.
The performances of some goalkeepers have left spectators mind-blown with amazing reflexes and anticipation. While the likes of Richard Attah, Kwame Baah and Prince Ato Bilson are headline makers deservedly, some goalkeepers who at a point assumed first-choice roles no longer have the highest reputation or media attention because they no longer command a starting berth in their respective clubs.
In this list, we take a look at 4 of the best second-choice goalkeepers in the Ghanaian topflight.
Felix Annan – Asante Kotoko SC
It's been a rather seismic fall from goalkeeping grace for Annan. Until recently, the former Asante Kotoko No.1 and skipper was regarded by many as the best goal custodian in the country (his call-ups into Black Stars clear corroborates this claim).
Annan started the season with the Porcupine Warriors and made 4 appearances with 2 clean sheets, conceding 4. The agile goalie lost his position to Kwame Baah after the former asked for an excuse to establish a nuptial arrangement with his fiancée.
Unfortunately for him, Kwame Baah is at the peak of his powers at Kotoko - and won't be dislodged from the first team any time soon, despite Annan's abilities. Annan has impressed throughout his career and is very impressive with the ball at his feet and is precise with his distribution.
His consistency in goal meant the Asante Kotoko have not worried about the goalkeeping spot for years.
Robert Dabuo – Ashanti Gold SC
His development may have stagnated a bit due to injury but when fit, there aren’t many more exciting netminders in the Ghanaian top-flight than him. Dabuo was a key figure in Ashantigold’s championship glory in 2015.
Currently playing second fiddle to Frank Boateng, the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup winner is one of the best second- choice goalkeepers in the country. He has been an outstanding shot blocker and veteran presence. While Dabuo may not be known for athletic prowess, he is a consistent player that rarely makes costly mistakes.
Due to his inability to start games and lack of flash, Robert Dabuo may never get the respect he deserves, but the Ashanti Gold SC keeper is certainly one of the best in country.
Richmond Ayi – Hearts of Oak
There’s nowhere else to start. Failing to mention Ayi’s name in the list feels like a little bit like the elephant in the room. He joined the Phobians from WAFA and instantly dislodged Ben Mensah to become the club’s first –choice goalkeeper. The national U-23 goalkeeper made saves, punches and made errors that have led to goals whilst inducing a sense of calm in his defence. His dependability was highlighted in his club’s games throughout the Normalisation Competition. He wouldn’t have bested Ben Mensah for Hearts’ first-choice goalkeeper if he wasn’t good.
Sadly, he now finds himself occupying the bench at Hearts, playing second fiddle to former Elmina Sharks’ number one Richard Attah.
Ferdinand Sabi Acquah- WAFA
His progress was hampered by an injury he suffered before their game against Accra Great Olympics. He has since found it extremely difficult to dislodge Prince Ato Bilson in the WAFA goal and reclaim his position. Before the unfortunate injury, he had featured in 7 games, kept 5 clean sheets which equates to a remarkable 71% and won 2 MVPs. Certainly not bad for the young goalkeeper.
He has made some stunning saves already this season, and can look forward to a bright future under Prosper Nartey. Displaying cat like reflexes, that often have to be seen in order to be believed, Acquah has got everything you'd want from a goalkeeper.