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Daniel Koranteng: Martin Koopman is not wrong – Myjoyonline

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Accra Hearts of Oak have had a dreadful start to the season, no doubt. To say one goal in their opening five Ghana Premier League (GPL) has not been the start the Phobians envisioned at the onset of the season would be stating the obvious. 
Martin Koopman’s men have blanked in four games already this term, the latest, a goalless draw at home against Samartex on match day six. 
Expectedly, the post-mortem was to focus on the team’s markedly disappointing result. Yet, the lasers have turned to comments by their Dutch trainer, whose attempt to explain his side’s goalscoring snags, has drawn head-splitting debate, at times, and ridicule from certain quarters.
“Look, there is a deep problem in Ghana football. The problem is also with the national team. The wingers and strikers cannot score goals, and I keep saying it is not only with us, but it’s happening in the national team and other clubs,” the 67-year-old said. 
The comments are straight out of Jose Mourinho’s playbook, an under-fire manager, scrambling for excuses, blaming anything and everything, other than himself and effectively diverting attention away from his team. Intentional or not, the comments have had at least one certain effect; nobody is talking about Hearts of Oak’s poor results any more.
Some have deemed the comments preposterous, a stretch of imagination, and a fickle attempt at rationalizing his own failings. But just maybe, the Dutchman is not wrong after all, and a critical examination of the goalscoring patterns of GPL teams and the Black Stars might prove his point. 
Let’s take Hearts of Oak for example – they are woefully underperforming their expected goals (xG) per game tally of 1.23, with an average of just 0.2 goals per game. For a team averaging an impressive 9.5 shots a game, the conversion rate stands at a measly 3%. This suggests Hearts are creating opportunities but somehow can’t seem to finish. 
Certainly, a manager’s job is to help his team create goalscoring scenarios, but he can’t finish them himself, can he? On that score alone, Koopman’s comments are already justified.
So far this season in the GPL, a total of 99 goals have been scored across 6 match days, which represents an average of 16.5 goals every match day. Considering an average of 8.3 matches played per game week, the league is producing just 1.97 goals a match.
To demonstrate how low that is, the Nigerian Professional League produces an average of 2.56 goals per game, the EPL averages 3.26 goals per game, and the Bundesliga slightly higher at 3.54 goals per game
And this is not just a one-season phenomenon in Ghana. In the 2022/23 season, the average goals per game was even worse, at a shocking 1.05. The season before that averaged 1.01 goals per game.
With the aforementioned evidence, it is hard to dismiss Koopman’s claim as mere propaganda or vacillation.
The Dutchman also claimed the problem is deep rooted in the national team, the Black Stars. Fair to say the last two internationals against Mexico and USA highlighted how blunt the Black Stars have been in front of goal. 
Chris Hughton’s side failed to score in the two games, managing just the solitary shot on target in a combined 186 minutes of action. 
Alarmingly, those numbers are not peculiar to just the games against USA and Mexico. 
Since October 2021, the Black Stars have averaged 1.1 goals per game, scoring 33 goals in 29 matches across competitive and friendly encounters. 
Simply put, in the absence of a clean sheet, Ghana would almost always not be winning games. Out of the 18 games during that period, the Black Stars have only won 4 games in which they have conceded.
At first glance, it is easy to ridicule Koopman, but the problem runs deeper, as the evidence has shown. And the sooner we start to address it, the better for our football.
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