Leave ‘Olele’ Alone

If there exist any player who is most maligned in world football today, then Black Stars’ goalie Richard Kingson fits into that bracket.

Kingson, affectionately known as Olele, may not have kicked a ball for the Stars in two years, but remains the most castigated ever since Coach Kwesi Appiah handed him a recall. Believe it or not, he is turning into a bête noir in the eyes of Ghanaians.

The Cyprus-based shot-stopper was among 25 players invited to prepare for next Tuesday’s World Cup play-off tie against the Pharaohs of Egypt at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi. Reports suggest he is apple-pie order; that is to say, he is in tremendous shape.

His invitation may have strongly been triggered off by the recent goalkeeping malaise of first-choice Fatau Dauda – the latter’s own ‘picadillo’ raised lots of eyebrows, especially after the Zambia game in Kumasi.

Interestingly, a googol of criticism has been hurled at the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and Appiah since the experienced Olele’s recall – with the cavillers including former FA President Dr. Nyaho-Nyaho Tamakloe, leading the ‘no way’ campaign.

Some have gone ahead to lampoon the poor goalie for lying about his age, even though the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has come clear on the issue – insisting it has only a single record to indicate the former Accra Great Olympics’ player was born in 1978.

“Olele is between 45 and 50 years; how do we invite him when he cannot even dive,” were some of the harsh comments on social media.

Others read:”He is out, finished and kaput.”
Such were the humiliating rapidity at which people continue to fling all these comments at Kingson to the extent that it is no longer ludicrous. It is now becoming almost sickening, to say the least. Fact that he has been invited does not make him an automatic choice for the Egypt game. He would have to slug it out with two other goalies to prove his mettle, as far as his form is concerned.

For now, there is no point dragging Olele in the mud. He may not be reacting to some of the vicious comments, but it does not really mean he is not seeing or reading them.

What Kingson needs now is support – total backing from Ghanaians if he is given the numero un spot against Egypt.
Let us not forget that if we continue to pull down his confidence the way we are doing at the moment, it is Ghana that suffers if he falters on the D-day, – not Olele alone.

As someone put it, if our goalies were that impeccable and dependable, would anybody be calling for the return of the Doxa player? What is important is to give total support to whoever is chosen to man the Ghana post on Tuesday.

Whether it is Kingson, Dauda or Adams Kwarasey, what they need from us is benediction – not malediction. The noise is becoming too much. Let us give all our players the much-needed unflinching support and they would not let us down. - John Vigah

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