Goal-scoring goalkeepers


HOLD THE BACK PAGE:SAO PAULO’S goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni obviously champions the biblical maxim of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, on the basis of his remarkably prolific goal-scoring record. Given everyone is trying to score on him, he feels the compulsion to reciprocate.

The Brazilian’s goal tally is a matter of a minor dispute.

Fifa, or more pointedly the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), to whom world soccer’s governing body defers on these matters, calculates Ceni has scored 98 goals but by the net minder’s reckoning, his successful strike from a free kick last week – it was the winner in a 2-1 victory over local rivals Corinthians – was his 100th.

The discrepancy arises because Ceni counts two goals recorded in unofficial friendly matches. There is no argument though that the 38-year-old holds the world record for goals scored by a goalkeeper, a mark he achieved as long ago as 2006 when he passed the milestone of Paraguay’s volatile stopper Jose Luis Chilavert (63).

There appears to be some confusion with the breakdown but as far as this column can ascertain, Ceni’s official goal tally consists of 54 free kicks and 44 penalties in 950 appearances for Sao Paolo. He also won 17 caps for Brazil; third-choice goalkeeper in the 2002 World Cup-winning squad and second choice in 2006.

Goal scoring goalkeepers are not a new phenomenon. Prior to 1912, goalkeepers regularly appeared on the score sheet thanks to rules that allowed them to handle the ball up to the halfway line. It was under these rules that two opposing goalkeepers both scored in the same match, Third Lanark against Motherwell in 1910.

It was the only occasion that such a feat occurred in a first-class fixture until August 2nd, 2000 when Velez Sarsfield’s and former record holder Chilavert and River Plate’s Roberto Bonano netted from the penalty spot in a Copa Mercosur tie. Chilavert shrugged: “I’m not that bothered about Bonano’s goal. Anyway, he hit it really badly, like a wet newspaper.”

The majority of goals scored by goalkeepers come through penalty or free kicks but arguably the most galling concession for the netminders is when one scores on the other from a kick-out. A famous instance was Pat Jennings’ effort in the 1967 Charity Shield while playing for Spurs against Manchester United.

The Northern Ireland icon’s goal clearance flew past opposite number Alex Stepney after being caught by a gust of wind. Unfortunately for Stepney, the whole incident was caught on camera by the Match of the Day team. The first recorded instance of a goalkeeper scoring direct from a goal-kick was on April 14th, 1900, when Manchester City’s Charlie Williams beat his opposite number, JE Doig, (Sunderland).

Possibly the most dramatic goal ever scored by a ’keeper was Jimmy Glass’s effort for Carlisle United in May 1999 that saved the club from the ignominy of non-league football.

There was 10 seconds of the game remaining with the scores level at 1-1, when Glass netted from close range.

His goal secured Cumbria’s last professional side’s league status and sent Scarborough down instead.

To add salt to the Yorkshire club’s wounds, Glass was playing his last game for United having arrived on loan from Swindon Town only three weeks before.

Barnes sees sense despite concussions

THE RECENT revelations of Leinster rugby players Bernard Jackman and John Fogarty highlighting just how debilitating repeated concussion can be, the searing headaches, balance issues, etc, are a disturbing legacy from their days in rugby.

The Irish players’ accounts carry a certain resonance when examining the plight of 24-year-old Australia and Waratahs outhalf-cum-centre Berrick Barnes who has suffered two concussions in the last month. He is sensible in scrupulously following medical direction rather than trying to camouflage the damage with testosterone-fuelled bravado, primarily because despite his tender years, he has a history of head injuries.

A concussion against the Reds was followed by another against the Brumbies. “I’ve had a history of them. At the moment, I don’t feel right. The reality is if I get hit in the head in the next coming week, we’re talking months (off) to (potentially) the whole season . . . it has been brought to the forefront, the risks with head injuries, and it could curtail my career; that is not what I want.”

While Barnes will be looking to add to his 31 Wallaby caps in the Tri-Nations and the World Cup, his immediate priority is simply to be able to function unimpaired. “It has affected me, just trying to run. Until (the medical personnel) clear it up, only I will know when that is, but it is hard to lift weights. I had (a concussion) in 2009, and I was fine to come back then. I have just felt a bit more after this one. You take all the medical reports, everything into it, and I am not going to be stupid.”

One wonders how Barnes might feel if a week turns into two and then a month: will he continue to be as fastidious in remaining on the sidelines or at the first sign of improvement, will he clamour to get back on the pitch? If he doesn’t make the right decision, then his club must.

Seles still has issues with security

IT WAS 18 years ago this month that Monica Seles, a winner of nine Grand Slam singles titles, was stabbed by deranged Steffi Graf fan Gunter Parche, a 39-year-old unemployed lathe operator, while playing Bulgarian Magdalena Maleeva at a tournament in Hamburg.

The incident happened at a changeover as the then 19-year-old world number one was sitting in her seat. Parche reached over a three-foot high fence, plunging a boning knife between Seles’ shoulder blades to a depth of 1.5 centimetres. The teenager screamed, staggered forward and fell onto the court.

The wound healed in a matter of weeks but it was over two years before Seles returned to competitive action. A German court ruled that her assailant, Parche, was mentally unstable, and amazingly sentenced him to two years of probation and psychological counselling. Seles railed at the time: “What people seem to be forgetting is that this man stabbed me intentionally and he did not serve any sort of punishment for it. I would not feel comfortable going back. I don’t foresee that happening.”

Security at sports events hasn’t really changed according to Seles, as she explained in Doha last week as one of two keynote speakers – Olympic champion Michael Johnson was the other – at a two-day Sports Security Conference organised by Qatar International Academy for Security Studies.

She observed: “Considering what happened to me way back in 1993, I think there’s a long way to go (in terms of security at tennis events). From the time I was stabbed, I think the security hasn’t changed. It’s good that we are opening up a dialogue through this sports (security) conference.

“I think it would be better to have extensive dialogue, maybe decide on special budgets that anyone would want to go with (to improve security). I do worry and hope that no other athlete has to go through what I went through.

“For each sport, it is different. For soccer it is different, and I can only speak individually about tennis. I felt after what happened to me that I had to provide security for myself. I had to take my own security measures. For me to have my peace of mind, that’s what I had to do.”

A goodwill ambassador of IIMSAM, the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition – Barack Obama and Diego Maradona are patrons too – she has been commissioned to write two novels about a fictional academy for elite young sports stars, the first of which is due out next year.

Yates gets in a flap over wind direction

THE FINAL STRAW:THERE WAS a touch of pulpit and sermon in listening to Newstalk’s breakfast drone Ivan Yates impugn BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss as he teased out the topic of Auntie losing the rights to broadcast the first two days of the US Masters at Augusta National.

Now Yates is certainly entitled to express his opinion but he managed to inadvertently soften the attack with a rather tepid endorsement of his stance. There is no point in repeating the predominantly ageist accusations of inadequacy he levelled at Alliss but suffice to say Yates is not a fan.

Instead he pointed out that he preferred the sharp, incisive commentary of Sky Sports’ coverage, because amongst other things they would at least tell you which way the wind was blowing; a revelatory nugget but not quite comparable to splitting the atom in commentating terms.

The flappy thing (flag) on the top of the stick (pin) is usually a good indicator. Now as most golfers know – Yates confessed he is not – the layout of a golf course means that wind direction is specific to each individual hole, not generic, but quite why he wants to be regularly told which way the wind is blowing, and elevating it to an essential commentating tool, is a mystery as yet unresolved.

Bolt kicks back with the aid of the black stuff

WHEN THE London Olympics rolls round next year, arguably the most eagerly-awaited contest will be the competition’s blue-riband event, the men’s 100 metres final, which has usurped the men’s 1,500m as the race that carries the premium cachet in the athletics world.

Barring injury, it promises the mouth-watering collision between Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay – Jamaican and former world record holder Asafa Powell would argue his credentials – but first they’ll meet at the World Athletics Championships in South Korea in August.

According to newspaper interviews this week Bolt and Gay are not scheduled to race against each other prior to then, thereby heightening the anticipation, but arguably as interesting was the contrast in their personalities viewed through the prism of how they relax; specifically dancing and drinking.

Gay told an English newspaper: “I don’t have that much rhythm. I don’t do liquor.” Bolt offered a less puritanical view telling USA Today that his late-night dancing and DJ-ing relaxes him and that he drinks only Guinness and the occasional champagne; no hard liquor.

The Jamaican’s choice of beer and the fact his agent is Donegal man Ricky Simms, who hails from Milford and is a graduate of the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, is purely a coincidence. Isn’t it? Apparently not, as Guinness vies with Red Stripe for beer market dominance in Jamaica.