Pharoahs claim their seventh Africa Cup of Nations title with 1-0 win over Ghana in Angola.
|Kingson led Ghana to the Africa Cup of Nations final but may miss the World Cup [GALLO/GETTY]|
Richard Kingson is something of a unique case in football.
Ghana’s goalkeeper, captain and most-capped current player led his country to the Africa Cup of Nations final in Angola in January, having appeared in their maiden World Cup four years earlier.
But the soft-spoken yet confident 31-year-old is hard to spot when not in the Black Stars’ purple goalkeeping top.
Kingson has played just four league matches in the past four seasons, when he has been on the books of minor English Premier League clubs Birmingham City and now Wigan Athletic.
“There is nothing I can do about my lack of football…I have no doubts about my ability”
Richard Kingson, Ghana goalkeeper
Despite the usual dictum that you must play for your club to play for your country, he is Ghana’s number one.
But now he is unsure whether he has a World Cup to look forward to.
Kingson, who will be 32 next month, has not played a competitive match since injuring his thigh at the Africa Cup of Nations.
As soon as that healed he injured his shoulder, which he says is now “getting better”.
Faith and fitness
He is hoping he can be in South Africa to face Germany, Serbia and Australia in the group matches, but it may depend on how much faith coach Milovan Rajevac has in Kingson and his fitness.
Kingson was at least included in the initial 30-man squad on May 7, before that list is reduced to 23 players on June 1.
“Things have been really tough this season as I have not been playing which is difficult for a professional,” Kingson told the Reuters news agency at Wigan’s training ground.
“I should have started training earlier but the shoulder injury has meant that I have had to go very slowly.
“Now I am improving and I expect to be fully fit for the World Cup. I still expect to be Ghana’s number one.”
Kingson is an important figure for Ghana and is their most capped player in the squad with 75 appearances.
That is ahead of higher profile players such as Michael Essien (51 caps), Inter Milan’s Sulley Muntari (52) and defenders John Mensah (62) and John Pantsil (58).
|Kingson has not played competitively since Angola in January [Paul Rhys]|
“The coach has rung me to ask me how I’m doing and I told him,” Kingson said.
“There is nothing I can do about my lack of football. Now the (English) season is over, I have to concentrate on the World Cup.
“There is nothing for me to show or prove as I was there last time in 2006 in Germany and everyone saw me. I have no doubts about my ability or my fitness.”
Kingson was voted the reserve goalkeeper in the All-Star Team at both the 2008 and 2010 continental tournaments.
His Wigan contract expires at the end of this month and he does not yet know where his future lies.
Previously, Kingson played in Turkey for the best part of a decade and represented six clubs.
He even adopted Turkish citizenship and a local name of Faruk Gursoy.
He may not be sure about his long-term future but he knows where he wants to play his immediate football – South Africa, and in Ghana’s first group match against Serbia on June 13 – Kingson’s birthday.
“The World Cup is a special event for us to enjoy and it will be very special to have this tournament in Africa,” Kingson said.
“The Cup of Nations is always colourful and different from the European Championships or the World Cup, but everyone wants to play in the World Cup.”