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Sports Features of Monday, 19 March 2018


Felix Annan: Ghana’s very own David De Gea

After watching Kotoko goalkeeper Felix Annan’s heroics secure a famous point for the Porcupine Warriors against WAFA in Sogakope, Citi Sports’ Daniel Koranteng reckons the 22-year-old has traits of Manchester United shot-stopper David De Gea.

Now I know what you are thinking; “too much hype”, “he is not that good” and so on. And you may have a point. But if you would bear with me through this article, you would see I have a point.

When Kumasi Asante Kotoko was drawn to face WAFA at the dreaded Sogakope Sports Stadium on matchday 1 in the Ghana Premier League, most pundits, fans, and observers of the league expected a baptism of fire for the Porcupine Warriors.

It wasn’t farfetched for anyone to harbor such thoughts after Kotoko’s dismal record in Sogakope; where they were still yet to score a league goal at WAFA.

Coach Christopher Nimley, prior to the game on Citi FM’s Sports Panorama, alluded to the fact that Kotoko would have their keeper Felix Annan to thank if they were to escape with a point, “WAFA will run rings round the Kotoko players on Sunday.

"The pace of the game will be too much for Kotoko to cope, and at the end of the day they will have to thank Felix Annan because he will do something to reduce the deficit,” he said. Annan duly accepted the challenge.

The game itself went according to the script when Manchester City target Aminu Mohammed curled in a gorgeous free kick past Kotoko shot stopper Felix Annan after just 3 minutes.

Kotoko drew level just 7 minutes later after a fortuitous effort from Yakubu Mohammed after he deflected in a shot from Jordan Opoku. From that moment it was the Felix Annan show.

Of course, he had to do his job. That was why drawing a salary anyway but it could also have been the fact that he was facing a team he had played for three seasons ago on loan.

Or, it was because Kotoko was put down at the same venue last season and Annan did not want to pick the balls from his net at very regular intervals.

We can find brilliant justifications for his great performance but the bottom line is that Annan was headline stuff at WAFA.

The 22-year old executed his sweeper-keeper role in superb fashion thwarting several pinpoints lofted through balls from the WAFA lads much to the frustration of WAFA forward Richard Danso.

Annan exploded to life in the second half denying WAFA time and again as it began to look like only a matter of time before the Academy boys scored another. It was his dramatic injury-time save from a poor headed clearance from Awudu Nafiu that raised eyebrows.

The last gasp save to push out a goal-bound header from his own defender was otherworldly, almost had me fixed in a trance, occasioned by the sheer incredulity of how great the save was.

The anticipation and the reflex reaction from such a close range to save his team when his own center back was expected to clear the ball all make this save worth the highlight reel.

The reflex king has certainly made a strong statement in the early embers of the season, not only with the performance against WAFA, but also in the CAF Confederation Cup qualifier against CARA Club of Brazzaville, where he saved 3 penalties over two legs, and stepped up to score his penalty kick; a highlight of his overall mental growth as a player.

He’s most definitely one to watch this season and will be a key factor if Kotoko are to regain the title they last won in 2014.