Bashir Hayford, clearly, finds no delight in seeing his team rely on penalty kicks for goals.
And, really, which coach does?
Before he took charge of Legon Cities a month ago, the Royals’ only goal in this season’s Ghana Premier League had come from the spot.
But for all the work Hayford claims to have put into sharpening Cities’ scoring edge, little has changed: the only goals he has celebrated thus far, too, have been converted penalties.
The latest, from Joseph Adjei shortly into the second half of Friday’s league game against WAFA, gave Cities a first win of the season.
Not that Hayford would mind, of course.
In his post-match remarks, rather than focus on the sort of goal that fetched the long-sought result, the experienced trainer chose to hail its value.
“If today we won, that means Legon Cities can win matches. I am very pleased with the victory,” Hayford said.
Nothing, in that moment, mattered more.
The relief it brings is immense, lifting Cities off the bottom of the log and halting a winless run that had begun to gnaw at the nerves of the club’s stakeholders — a pool of frustration into which the team sunk and drowned a little deeper each week.
Now, though, Cities have a lifeline, one that they’d hope marks the beginning of a good spell.
“This will be a big booster for us going forward. Naturally, when you win games it motivates you to win the next, so I am confident that we will build on this victory.”
The fixture list certainly offers genuine prospects of doing so. If Cities’ first eight games of the season were tough, their next eight — four against clubs in the top five, four versus sides in the table’s lower half — look, at worst, promising.
Hayford — one of the league’s more successful coaches — would want to make the most of that run. First, though, he’d do well to wean his team off its reliance on penalties; it may have finally yielded a win but, as Hayford himself would admit, the trend is still worrying.
Having a fit-again, in-form – and even if 35-year-old — Asamoah Gyan back in action would go a long way in making progress on that front but, for now, Cities would be content with getting the big break they’ve craved for months.
Let’s see what they do with it.
Enn Y. Frimpong — Ink & Kicks