ESPN could have made one of its “30 for 30” documentaries about what happened to Ghana’s national soccer team and goalkeeper Brimah Razak during the first week of February 2015. And frankly, there is still time to get one done.
First, there’s the setting: The Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which was relocated from Morocco to Equatorial Guinea due to an Ebola scare. Ghana advanced through the group stage and, beginning on Feb. 1, went on a thrilling run that fell agonizingly short.
In the quarterfinals, Razak shut out Guinea in a 3-0 victory. In the semifinals, Razak recorded another shutout in a 3-0 win over host team Equatorial Guinea. In the final, Ghana would face Ivory Coast — the team led by star defender Kolo Toure and his superstar younger brother, midfielder Yaya Toure. For 120 minutes, Ghana and Ivory Coast played to a scoreless tie, with Razak again shining in goal. Then it went to penalty kicks, where Razak finally allowed someone to score on him because, well, it’s really hard to stop a world-class soccer play from scoring on a penalty kick. The PK tally was at eight scores apiece when it came down to the goalkeepers themselves taking PK tries. Razak went first, and was denied by Ivory Coast GK Boubacar Barry. And then Barry put one past Razak, giving Ivory Coast the title and Ghana a tough runner-up pill to swallow. Of the teams that made it past the group stage, Ghana had won the most games (four), had scored the most goals (seven) and had given up the fewest goals (three). They did everything better than everyone else except win the championship.
On his day job, Razak, a Muslim born and raised in Ghana’s capital city of Accra, plays for Cordoba of Spain’s La Liga. In the video below, he demonstrates some of the drills he uses while training to face shots from some of the best players on the planet: