Born on June 13, 1978 in Ghana’s capital city Accra, Richard Paul Franck Kingson is Ghana’s top goalkeeper. As one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the whole of Africa, he was a stalwart in the Ghanaian defense that saw them through to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
How did Richard Kingson become such an almost impenetrable force in front of the goal? It all boils down to his physical conditioning and quick reflexes to anticipate the ball’s trajectory and direction. But most important of all is his mental training that enabled him to keep his composure in split second decisions on keeping his goal safe.
The mental state of goalkeepers is very essential if they want to succeed in the sport of soccer. Although the game is more of a physical nature, the aspect of mental toughness cannot and should not be discounted.
Richard Kingson’s rich soccer career began in 1995 when he played for Great Olympics in the Glo Premier League the top soccer division in Ghana. He then plied his trade in Turkey in 1998, got naturalized and changed his name to Faruk Gursory. While in Turkey, he played for 6 different teams until 2005. The last Turkish club he played for was Galatasaray. In 2007, he was sent on loan to Sweden where he attracted the attention of several European clubs. He eventually signed with Birmingham that same year and played sparingly for manager Steve Bruce. When Birmingham was relegated in 2008, he followed Steve Bruce to Wigan Athletic in September where he plays up to now.
His international career is also highly notable. He was chosen as the starting goalkeeper for Ghana national football team just before the 2006 World Cup when he replaced aging Sammy Adjei. After that, he regularly represented his country as the top choice for international matches including the 2008 and 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. He even scored a goal against Tanzania in 2008 on a friendly match from a free kick.
Among all members of the national team, he is the only one to have played in all minutes of the qualifying matches on the way to the 2010 World Cup never being substituted even for once. In all of those 12 matches, he conceded only 7 goals proving his reliability in front of goal.
In the 2010 World Cup opening game, he kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win on their first group game against Serbia. On their second group match against Australia, he thwarted several attempts on goal conceding only once in a 1-1 draw. Against powerhouse Germany, he conceded only one goal in a 1-0 loss. Their team’s efforts lead them to a round of 16 match against the US where they won 2-1 in extra time. However, their world cup dreams fell short against Uruguay in the quarterfinals when they lost on a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time.
Richard Kingson’s steady presence in front of goal is clearly a testament of his mental toughness. This had enabled him to remain focused on important task of keeping his goal safe and bring his club and country the accolades that they truly deserve.