Richmond Ayi Has What It Takes To Thrive At Hearts of Oak Featured
02 Dec

Richmond Ayi Has What It Takes To Thrive At Hearts of Oak

Securing the scintillatingly talented Richmond Ayi from the West Africa Football Academy (WAFA) on a free is unquestionably a wonderful piece of business by Accra Hearts of Oak.
 
While a top official at Hearts admitted it wasn't easy to snap up the agile netminder, with a host of other clubs battling to sign him too, the fact Ayi believes Accra Hearts of Oak was the perfect place for him to shine sealed the deal.
 
"I’m feeling great,” Ayi told kickgh.com after sealing the deal with the Accra club. 
 
“I’m at an unbelievable club and I can’t wait to start. I think Hearts is a great club for me - I think they can build me into a bigger, stronger player and I can do some nice things here.” He quipped
 
Not too many will have watched Ayi too closely in recent years though, so exactly how good is he?
 
Well, the signs are promising and although it is always difficult for a young goalkeeper moving to a big club, there is no doubt that Ayi has a big future.
 
He’s a tall and agile shot-stopper who commands his area and has established himself as number one for previous clubs Techiman City and WAFA.
 
Due to his ability at playing out from the back, he is considered sweeper- keeper and also possesses superb reflexes, handling, positional acumen, good distribution and is a hugely challenging proposition for any attacker to handle in a 1v1 situation. Indeed, being so adept in this regard has positive ramifications for his teammates too.
 
Ayi’s major strength is his ability to be in the right position in order to cover a large portion of the goal especially when opposing forwards are bearing down on goal. Another strength of his is his distribution.
 
He averages 5.0 successful goal kicks per game and 4.1 throw outs. 
 
For a coach like Kim Grant, who put emphasis on attractive football, the benefit of having a goalkeeper who can play from the back, cut out individual errors and provide an imposing presence will be invaluable. 
 
In terms of anticipation, Ayi is one of the best around. He thinks like a striker and tries to anticipate if the opposition forward will dribble or shoot, and how he will shoot: close to the ground, in the air, with power, and in what direction.
 
The 21-year-old made 14 appearances for WAFA last term and kept two clean sheets. 
 
Although it will inherently take time to adjust to living in the unfamiliar confines of Accra and building relationships with his new teammates, the acquisition of Ayi by Hearts is definitely one that should benefit the club, both now, and in the future.
 
By: Godfred Budu Yeboah
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