Ghana Black Starlets goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad has been the centre of attraction at the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup after conceding just one goal in four games, making him the only shot-stopper with the cleanest sheet at the moment.
The most fascinating aspect of Danlad’s presence in the tourney is that he is the youngest player at this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup, aged 14 years.
With such great potential at this age, Danlad can become one of Ghana’s safest pair of hands to hopefully keep the goal post for the senior national team, the Black Stars, if he is nurtured in the right process.
Currently, Danlad is a juvenile team shot-stopper for Ghanaian football giants Kumasi Asante Kotoko, the team renowned for unearthing a number of stars for Ghana when it matters most.
The performance of the lad cannot go unnoticed as he has overwhelmed football agents enough with mouthwatering reflexes and saves in-between the sticks when Ghana faced Colombia, USA, India and Niger.
As a commanding force of the Black Starlets backline, Danlad’s goal line was only breached once in the game against the USA at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium when substitute Ayo Akinola’s struck the net in the 75 minute.
If you think what you’ve read so far is just the usual hype aimed at getting clubs to throw in more money for the young boy from the Northern part of Ghana, then think again for you are wrong.
Let me throw you back to more stats at the U-17 African Cup of Nations where Ghana picked the silver cup after losing the final to Mali.
Against all odds, when the Starlets played Cameroon, Guinea and host Gabon in the group stages, Danlad denied any ball from entering his post in all three games. Eventually, Ghana topped the group with seven points, nine goals, winning two and drawing one.
After the proceedings ended 0-0 in the Semi-final when Ghana played Niger, Danlad stepped up and saved Massamb’s shot and later Mossi’s shot struck the post for Ghana to sail through to the final, winning 6-5 on penalties in the process.
The main highlight of Danlad’s career unfolded in the U-17 AFCON final when he saved two penalties during regulation time. He prevented Ibrahim Kane from scoring the spot kick but Mamadou Samake was quick to follow up the rebound to give Mali the lead in the 20th minute. Some ten minutes after, the Black Starlets conceded yet another foul in the box, Danlad Ibrahim punched the ball away to keep the Black Starlets in the game.
For his immense and blistering performance at the U-17 AFCON, he was awarded the ‘Golden Gloves’.
The goalkeeper has now set his sights on a similar accolade at the World Cup and if he keeps the post safe for Ghana when they face Mali, the defending Champions of the U-17 AFCON, hopefully, he will achieve his target.