For a national team that has always had such a terrible record in penalty shootouts, the latest instance of which was experienced last Sunday in the 2019 WAFU Cup final, Ghana’s Black Stars (A & B) could fill the pages of a book on how not to take a penalty — and they wouldn’t even need the English as co-authors. Which are the worst kicks in recent memory, though?
Daily Mail GH flips through the archives:
1. JOHN MENSAH — SOUTH AFRICA 2010
Five penalties had been converted in neat succession during Ghana’s quarter-final with Uruguay at the 2010 FIFA World Cup before skipper John Mensah stepped up for the Stars’ third. Ghana needed to score to keep it going, but Mensah, standing so close to the planted ball, was clearly going nowhere. His run-up — or lack of one, really — hardly inspired confidence, and the finish was just as horrible.
2. ISAAC VORSAH — SOUTH AFRICA 2013
To be fair to Vorsah, he wasn’t the only Ghanaian who missed a penalty as the Stars bowed out in a 2013 AFCON semi-final meeting with Burkina Faso — Emmanuel Clottey and Agyemang-Badu did, too — but none fluffed their lines quite as badly as the center-back. Bold and blond Vorsah — as the first taker — was expected to set the tone nicely, but he did just the opposite, driving the ball so wide that Burkinabe goalkeeper Daouda Diakité could have spent the time doing yoga and wouldn’t have felt a thing. The look on Vorsah’s face afterwards?
3. TIJANI JOSHUA — SOUTH AFRICA 2014
Again, the Rainbow Nation provided the setting for a Ghanaian shootout heartbreak. Ghana had begun the sequence of penalties that decided the 2014 CHAN final with a two-goal deficit, but a couple of poorly taken Libyan kicks and successful conversions by Asiedu Attobrah, Godfred Saka and Jackson Owusu got Maxwell Konadu’s men level. Ahmed El Trbi scored to slip Libya ahead, before Tijani Joshua — striking a ball that steered clear of goal with such certainty that it barely needed the goalkeeper’s help finding its way out — sealed the Stars’ miserable fate.
4. FRANK ACHEAMPONG — EQUATORIAL GUINEA 2015
Acheampong had been introduced just when it seemed imminent that Ghana’s AFCON 2015 final versus neighbors Ivory Coast was headed for a shootout, an apparent endorsement of his penalty-taking ability. Acheampong failed to justify those ‘credentials’, however, instead effecting an absolute embarrassment of a spot-kick. His miss came either side of same by Afriyie Acquah and Razak Braimah, but of the lot, Acheampong’s — never really on target, was it? – remains the most
5. JUSTICE BLAY — SENEGAL 2019
Ah, man like Blay!
His is the most rceent among the bunch, but arguably the worst. Delivered only last weekend, Blay’s run-up was just what Mensah’s from almost a decade prior wasn’t: zealous . . . well, maybe a bit too zealous. A few strides and an awkward skip just before his foot made contact with the ball culminated in one of the most unconventional penalties you’d ever see taken, gifting the ball — and the WAFU Cup trophy — into Senegalese hands.
NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH