Joseph Carr: Local goalies deserve chance in Black Stars

BY: George Ernest Asare
Richard Attah is the first choice goalkeeper of Accra Hearts of Oak
Richard Attah is the first choice goalkeeper of Accra Hearts of Oak

Black Stars and Asante Kotoko legend, Joseph Carr, has made a strong case for some outstanding local goalkeepers to be selected into the Black Stars to create a healthy competition in the goalkeeping department of the team.

He said the over-reliance on foreign-based goalkeepers in the national team, some of whom did not have the quality to match their home-based counterparts, was a disincentive for the leading home-based goalkeepers to give their best since they were often overlooked.

Carr, who won the 1978 and 1982 Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana, told the Graphic Sports that goalkeepers such as Richard Attah of Hearts of Oak, Iddrisu Abdulai of Bechem United and Danlad Ibrahim of Asante Kotoko were some of the finest shot-stoppers on the local scene who deserved to be regular members of the national team to boost their confidence and also ensure competition for the No. 1 position.

Attah and Danlad have been in and out of the team since the last two years but Abdulai -- who made 18 clean sheets in 31 appearances for Bechem in the just-ended Premier League -- was only invited into the black Stars B team under the supervision of Coach Annor Walker.

“One area that the technical team should consider seriously is the goalkeeping department, where four foreign-based goalkeepers, some of who have failed to prove their worth, are always considered ahead of our local goalkeepers,” lamented Carr in an exclusive interview with the Graphic Sports last week.

Lack of opportunities

Nicknamed Cat for his agility during his heyday, Carr bemoaned the lack of opportunities for the home-based goalkeepers, especially as some of the foreign-based goalies consistently invited had not justified their continued stay in the team when others needed the same platform to prove their worth.

“It looks as if the Black Stars technical team are toying with the goalkeeping department by keeping faith with only foreign based players.The goalkeeping department is key to building a formidable team, hence the need for the technical team to seriously consider some of our local goalkeepers who have proved to be reliable and dependable in the Ghana Premier League.”

For Carr, who was Kotoko’s first choice goalkeeper when they won the 1983 Africa Clubs Championship (now CAF Champions League), it is about time Coach Otto Addo and the national team’s goalkeepers’ trainer, Richard Kingson, gave goalkeepers Attah, Abdulai and Danlad a chance to build their confidence and also prove what they are capable of doing for the team.

“These goalkeepers are not only young and dependable but also have proved to be consistent, reliable, brave and confident in their roles during local league matches. So I wonder why they are always left behind while others who easily give in under little or no pressure are always invited into the national team.

Healthy competition

A former goalkeepers’ trainer for Kotoko, Carr said beside the local goalkeepers, some local players who had also been phenomenal in the local league should be regularly invited into the national team to create a healthy competition in various positions.

“The technical team is overtly depending on the foreign based players to the detriment of the home-based players, some of who can compete very well with their foreign-based counterparts when offered the same opportunity.

“It looks as if the criteria for selection into the Black Stars is purely based on playing overseas even though some of the players are only bench warmers in their respective teams, and as such their output in the national jersey is also nothing to be enthused about.

Carr was of the firm conviction that if the Black Stars technical team kept faith with players who had distinguished themselves in the local league and given the same platform as being offered the foreign legion, it would ensure competition in all departments and make the team more formidable.

“What the technical team of the Black Stars should appreciate is that the European terrain is totally different from the Africa terrain, hence the need to have faith in some of the well established home-based players in continental tournaments, and with such a blend, the team would become formidable again.”