Saving local youths

2018-06-14 06:01
A goalkeeper is put through his paces by professional keeper, Richard Ofosu Ompush as others looks on.PHOTO: velani ludidi

A goalkeeper is put through his paces by professional keeper, Richard Ofosu Ompush as others looks on.PHOTO: velani ludidi

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Seasoned Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Ofosu Ompush is hosting a free goalkeeper academy in Lwandle.

Ompush, who started playing soccer at the age of 15, has plied his trade in Malaysia and also has a stint at PSL outfit Amazulu FC.

He says he decided to start the academy in Lwandle “to teach [young goalkeepers] that which I have learnt in the PSL and in the countries I travelled. These skills can help improve their game”.

Before the start of the programme, there were no goalkeeper trainers in the area, with the focus mostly on field players. But the Helderberg Goalkeepers’ Academy is changing that notion.

Ompush also provides nutritious meals to the participants. “What they eat affects their game and that is why I bring the healthy food. I also encourage them to eat healthy,” he explains.

“One of the challenges we face is a lack of funding. I have bought kit for the boys from my own pocket.”

Ompush sees tons of potential in the players and is hopeful they will become professional footballers in the future.

Currently he trains 18 goalkeepers who play for various local clubs.

Simamkele Ncipha (19) describes the training as “out of this world”.

“[Ompush] is really a professional; we have never seen the techniques he has taught us. My game improved since I joined the academy,” he says. “There are also players who used to smoke and drink alcohol, but they have stopped since they are part of the programme.”

Ncipha dreams of playing for Bloemfontein Celtic in the future.

Ompush believes alcohol abuse destroys promising footballers in Strand.

“They drink a lot and their game is badly affected. As part of the programme, I encourage them to get an education, as it is the key to many doors, including football,” he says.

Ompush hopes to be signed by a professional team once he gets a work permit.

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