Maritzburg United goalkeeper Richard Ofori. Photo: Steve Haag/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Richard Ofori is a heart-broken man. Who wouldn't be when both your club and country are failing to achieve the goals you'd hoped will help make your dreams come true?

With his club Maritzburg United and his national team of Ghana falling over hurdles, things have been pretty hard for Ofori recently.

"It is has been a very bad few months for me. It has not being easy," Ofori lamented.

Having just seen his club kicked out of the Telkom Knockout at the first hurdle, Ofori found himself reflecting on how a season that promised so much glory spectacularly fell apart.

Before the Telkom loss. Maritzburg had come inches close to their first ever cup final appearance only to lose in the semis of the MTN8.

It is with the Ghanaian national team, however, where Ofori is feeling the biggest pain.

The Black Stars' hopes of participating at a fourth successive World Cup are dead and buried and next weekend's final match of the qualifiers for Russia 2018 is a mere formality.

"It's every player's dream to play in the World Cup and we believed we could do it. But even after we did our best, we just couldn't qualify and it is heartbreaking."

He sportingly acknowledges though that Egypt were deserved group winners.

"The best team qualified. We need to give them credit. They deserve it."

As if failing to win the World Cup ticket was not bad enough, Ofori then had to see Maritzburg miss out on the MTN8 final: "It was disappointing to lose to SuperSport at home in the second leg after we got a draw away. But the downfall of a man is not the end of his life. I need to pick myself up and continue with the journey.”

And he is already picking himself up, the Ghanaian optimistic the Black Stars will go to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. They are joint top of their group with Sierra Leone on three points after one match. Kenya and Ethiopia are the other teams.

“We need to continue with our good start in the Afcon qualifiers. We have to forget about the World Cup and focus on going to Afcon in 2019.”

And he also urges Maritzburg to focus on going forward.

“We need to move on because it is all over for us (in MTN 8 and Telkom). We have to pull our socks in the league. We're down but we'll be up soon.”

The Star

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