Martin Koopman
Martin Koopman

Martin Koopman: Ghana lacks strikers

Accra Hearts of Oak's head coach, Martinus Koopman, has expressed his frustration with his team's goal-scoring drought in the betPawa Premier League, after his side failed to find the net in a scoreless draw with FC Samartex 1996 at the Accra Sports Stadium last Saturday.

Hearts of Oak have only managed to score one goal in their first five matches of the season, and currently find themselves in 15th place in the league standings, with one win, two draws and two losses. Their only victory – and only goal in the competition -- was a 1-0 home win against Nsoatreman FC on September 24.

After supervising a second barren draw in consecutive matches, the coach distanced himself from the club's struggles in front of the net. He pointed out that the low conversion rate was not unique to his team but was symptomatic of a more extensive goal-scoring problem affecting Ghana’s football, a deficiency he attributed to the scarcity of high-quality wingers and strikers in the country.

Koopman said after last Saturday's match that goal scoring had become a difficult issue for all the 18 premier league clubs, with his team the lowest scoring club in the competition.

“There is a big problem in Ghana football, the problem is also in the national team …wingers and strikers, I keep on saying it’s not only with us (Hearts) also in the national team and also in the other clubs,” Koopman in a post-match interview.

The 68-year-old Dutchman declined to assign blame for the team's scoring woes to either himself or his players. Instead, he encouraged the club's supporters to attend matches and motivate the players to perform at their best.

Koopman acknowledged that the inexperience of his players played a role in the team's underwhelming performance this season. He pledged to make every effort to help the team secure victories. 

“We’ll do everything to win games and actually they (fans) must come and watch how we work with the boys, and I think I’m not the problem and also not the players. They give everything but we need experience and actually a goal then we step over the problem,” he indicated.

Despite the goalless draw, Koopman praised his team's effort and determination, especially after the hard work put into training. 

“We deserve the three points over winning, but you see we came a lot of times in the box, we did a lot of training about this, nice sessions, the boys fought for with their lives and I think we have more possession, but the finishing is the question now. But if we continue to do this it (goal scoring) will happen for sure.”

Hired two months ago to help turn the club's fortunes around after a poor campaign last season, the coach emphasised the importance of instilling confidence in his players and relying on the wings and midfield to support the strikers in finding the back of the net as the way of transforming their dominance in possession into victories.

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