Throwback Thursday : How A Power-Cut “Dumsor” Played A Key Role In The Unfortunate Demise Of Africa’s Best Goalkeeper , Robert Mensah

For someone who was born in the early 2000’s , I was privy to the likes of Sammy Adjei and Richard “Olele” Kingson . I often thought , “who could possibly be better than these two goalkeeping Icons ?” .

These two goalkeepers featured at top level with the Ghana senior National football Team , The Black Stars and even featured at world cups .

Their reflexes were as sharp as the edges of the mythical king Arthur’s sword . They lived up to the hype and delivered anytime they were called upon .

I mean , who could beat these two ?

To me , it was impossible . That was until I learnt about a forgotten unsung legend of Ghanaian football .

I was fascinated by the tales told about his exhilarating career but what got to me most was the tragic unfortunate circumstances that led to his untimely passing .

Attributes and Achievements :

Voted 9th best player in Africa by French football publication , “France-Football” in 1970 .

Runner up for the African football best player award in 1971 .

Read news papers in the heat of top games because he felt his opponents weren’t worthy of his attention .

Nicknamed “Yashin” because of his cap just as the famous Soviet Union’s , Russian goalkeeper , Lev Yahin .

An African Club champions league winner with Kumasi Asante Kotoko in 1970 .

Runner – up with the Black Stars at the 1968 Afcon .

Represented Ghana at the 1968 summer Olympics.

The above are all accredited to one man , Robert Mensah .

Highlight Of Career / Life :

Popularly known for his exploits with Kumasi Asante Kotoko , Robert Mensah was just a phenom in his era . The cap wearing goalkeeper who was dubbed as “Africa’s no.1 goalkeeper” left it all on the pitch anytime he stepped foot on the grass .

Antics , entertainment , passion , agility , controversy , I dare you to name it . Robert Mensah possessed every trait that made him a once in a generational talent . He was simply a delight to watch .

Born in Gold Coast on 12 June 1939 , Robert Mensah made about 340 career appearances with clubs such as Mysterious Dwarfs , Sekondi Independence Club , Tema Textiles Printing and the most notable on this list , Kumasi Asante Kotoko .

Death :

Robert Mensah sustained a severe injury from a fight at the hands of his very good friend at Tema . He was stabbed with a broken glass and the injury was very severe .

A very wealthy member of the Kotoko fraternity at the time offered to take him to Germany to be operated on but was stopped by one Doctor Obeng , who was a doctor at the Tema General Hospital at the time . Doctor Obeng offered his services and deemed himself skilled enough to handle Robert Mensah’s condition .

He was entrusted with the life of Robert Mensah who was taken to the Tema General Hospital to be operated on .

During the course of the surgery , the unexpected happened when the hospital experienced a power cut (“Dumsor”) . The obvious happened as all electronic devices went off and couldn’t function . There wasn’t any back up power generating device available at the hospital either .

Due to these unfortunate circumstances , Robert Mensah passed on 2nd November , 1971 at the tender age of 32 .

His death sent shock waves throughout the entire sporting fraternity around the world . His corpse was flown in a helicopter from Tema to Kumasi and from Kumasi to Sekondi where he was finally laid to rest .

There will never be another Robert Mensah ! .

(This article isn’t a biography . It highlights on the career , life and death of Robert Mensah . It isn’t aimed at undermining nor defaming any body’s talent and achievements ) .

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