Last Monday, after a meeting between the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the Premier League Clubs, it was proposed that penalty kicks be adopted to settle games that ended in stalemates.
According to the proposal, the winner after the kicks walks away with two points, whilst the loser maintains one point from the initial result.
This, according to both bodies, was part of measures to address the country’s woeful record in recent years from spot kicks.
In four major competitions over the past two years, various national sides have ended up as the losing sidevia the lottery of penalties.
With fine detail of its modalities yet to be agreed on fully, we set out to ask the public what they think about the decision and whether it is the prudent way to tackle our deficiency from the spot.
Below are excerpts of the opinions sampled.
Michael Kwame Donkor (PAS-Z Sports Agency)
I think it is a step in the right direction and this initiative should be introduced at the various levels with keen interest at the grassroots, specifically the colts division.
However, I believe Ghana’s dreadful penalty woes in major competitions is more of a psychological issue than lack of skill.
Our players chicken out at the sight of spot-kicks and this drains their confidence, hence the poorly-taken kicks.
Going forward, I encourage any measure that is instituted to address this phenomenon. Also, our football clubs must make shoot-out practicing an indispensable part of their training programmes.
Joe Okyere (Sports Writer, Scoopernews)
It is not a bad idea to include penalty kicks at the end of each game in the event of a draw. Per the stats, we have performed poorly when it comes to penalty kicks at major tournaments. Apart from the U-20 World Cup win over Brazil in 2009 and the West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup quarter final game against Burkina Faso this year where we emerged victorious, the rest have been disastrous – both for country and at club level. Kotoko’s shocker against Congolese side, CARA three seasons ago in the Confederations Cup where they lost four penalties by four different takers in 90minutes unearthed the fact that it was not only a national team problem.
It is obvious our boys lack the confidence when kicking penalties.
The penalty situation has become a burden on the Ghanaian game, so I believe it a good initiative from the GFA.It really makes sense to develop the penalty aspect from the local leagues where technical handlers will take time to take their boys through series of penalty drills.
Charlotte Nettey (Student, Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ))
Initially, I was a bit skepticalabout the proposal, but upon further deliberations I think we are faced with the damning reality that our footballers are poor penalty takers.
To that end, trying out new ideas to help nip this unfortunate aspect of our game must be embraced.
We can always scrape it, when it doesnot seem to work uponimplementation.
Serwaa Kate Marfo (Nurse)
Practice makes one perfect. Taking regular penalties in some of the hostile stadiums in front of packed grounds across the country may just be the panacea to this creeping canker burdening our game. And, since the games will be televised and reported, the public will be privy to the best takers and therefore would not have to rely on coaches informing us about the prowess of certain players from the spot kicks.
Richard Entsie (Student, Ghana Telecom University)
I support this initiative from the GFA; the rate at which we perform abysmally during shoot-outs is appalling and heart-wrenching, to say the least. It will definitely force the teams to put more hours into practicing and hopefully it can be an initiative that reverses our supposedly bad luck in shoot-outs.
Diana Dede (Football Enthusiast)
It always seemed we are condemned to lose during spot-kicks. When we missed our chance to become Africa’s sole World Cup semi-finalist in South Africa 2010, I thought it will spark an instant response for us to address this problem. Instead, we rested our oars and here we are with a much escalated problem.
Going forward, proposals like this intended to solve the situation must be supported and improved when necessary; hopefully in the long run, it may bear the fruit we all desire.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO