After a Tough Debut, Danlad Rises to King Faisal’s Relief
Danlad Ibrahim would have known.
And maybe that knowledge, about the ease with which opponents tend to sweep King Faisal off the pitch, would have eased the pain of conceding three goals on his debut for the Kumasi-based outfit.
Danlad had only joined Faisal ahead of the second round of the ongoing Ghana Premier League season, in search of the minutes that his superlative performances at the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations and subsequent inclusion in the Black Stars squad declared he was worthy of and ready for.
He had sat out the first game, at home to the West African Football Academy (WAFA), with goalkeeper Adam Abdul Jabal clinging to the starting spot, and Danlad was set to endure same in the next outing.
Seventeen minutes into Faisal’s away match at Aduana Stars’ Nana Agyemang Badu I Park, however, Jabal went off injured and Danlad was pressed into service on short notice.
By full-time, any eagerness and excitement with which Danlad grabbed his chance had evaporated, as Aduana ran out 3-1 winners. Faisal, of course, have had worse days this season — they’ve shipped four twice, five once — but that fact would be scant consolation for Danlad.
He did have reason, on a personal level, to feel disappointed.
Danlad was at fault for, at least, one of Aduana’s goals, rashly rushing out of his box to intercept an attack (and not for the first time in his young career), only to end up an unwilling, unwitting facilitator as Benjamin Tweneboah skipped past to slot the ball into an untended goal for his second on the day.
Like Faisal, though, Danlad had to pick himself up promptly, to “keep fighting” and “keep believing”.
And, well, that’s just what he’s gone on to do.
Jabal recovered in time for the Week 20 visit of regional neighbours Ashanti Gold, but he only made the bench, as Danlad got drafted in for his first start.
It was a shot at redemption for the young man — a decision that head coach Kasim Gokyildiz wouldn’t regret, but which Jabal just might.
Faisal, unsurprisingly, were under the cosh for considerable portions of the match, and Ashgold definitely had them on the ropes. But Danlad’s solid defenses proved a bulwark, ensuring they never quite crumbled onto the canvas, with save after save keeping Faisal — the first side in the league this term to let in 30 goals — in the game.
Deservedly, for his efforts, Danlad was named MVP, and would certainly have reason to believe that he has earned himself one more start, hopefully, when Faisal travel to Inter Allies.
Allies may have their own troubles, rooted to the bottom of the table, but recent form — since the Week 15 loss to Elmina Sharks, Faisal have lost every other game — suggests even Danlad’s best efforts might not be able to save his team from defeat in that game.
Still, with Danlad in goal — no disrespect to Jabal — they do have a better chance of beating the drop, and the 18-year-old certainly drove home that point, in fetching Faisal a priceless point, this weekend.