Ademetan Abayomi writes a detailed scout report about Abigail Tawiah Mensah, Berry Ladies’ highly regarded goalkeeper.
Halifax Ladies FC might have signed and paraded some good goalkeepers in the first team over the years but not much could be said about the amount of first team goalkeepers that has successfully made the transition from the club.
At an early stage, she seemed potentially destined for a big future with Halifax Ladies FC.
Considering the rare occasion of seeing an academy graduate goalkeeper making a claim in the first team, Halifax allowed this lady thrive and she relished the occasion.
Introducing the highly rated 19-year-old goalkeeper Abigail Tawiah Mensah, who joined Berry Ladies from Halifax Ladies.
Who is Abigail Tawiah Mensah?
Born in 2002, Abigail started football at a tender age and thrived on hardwork and dedication.
After horning her skills as a grassroot player, she teamed up with Halifax in 2017 and enjoyed a great time at the club.
Currently on the books of Berry Ladies, the youngster is also a Black Queens player.
So what had changed?
You only have to look at Abigail’s impressive statistics.
Over the course of the 2020/21 season, she played 12 games in all competitions for the Berry Ladies first team. She kept seven cleansheets. During that time, the young Ghanaian also made her full international debut for her country.
What is her Style of Play?
Berry Ladies’ style of play is possession based with high ball circulation beginning with the goalkeeper and back four. It is an ethos which involves a great deal of movement off the ball and numerous small passes via triangles of various sizes that systematically isolate and eliminate opposing players with the overall aim of forcing the opposition closer and closer to their own goal until the weight of pressure finally proves too much. When defending, the club’s style switches to a pressing game to ensure both a quick turn-over of possession and a swift resumption of the attack.
Within the above system, players are schooled in the art of moving into other positions when the opportunity arises while their colleagues are conditioned to fill in for their team mates when such instances occur to provide defensive cover should an attack then break down.
The position of goalkeeper, however, is unique amongst those on a football field.
While agility and sharp reflexes are, of course, a must, it is a position where age is no barrier and the ability to read a game takes greater priority over that of speed or skill on the ball, yet, within the Berry Ladies system, the position of goalkeeper is also where each attack is born.
Abigail is well versed in the role of the modern sweeper-keeper, and her distribution is no doubt one of the key reasons behind her recruitment by the club.
What are her Strengths?
Despite not being the tallest of goalkeepers, the 19-year-old Ghanaian more than makes up for her lack of stature with her impressive feats of agility.
As well as possessing impressive agility, the 19-year-old rarely comes up second best when placed in a one-on-one situation.
Judgement is a key attribute for any top goalkeeper and generally takes two forms – the ability to read the play and be able to judge when it is necessary to come off your line and help your defence in defusing an attack before it becomes a threat to your goal or by fielding a cross in open play or from a set piece.
Certainly, Abigail’s ability to come off her line and defuse would-be attacking situations before they develop is beyond doubt.
Being a goalkeeper is a constant mental battle and as such it is those precious few who can silence the voices within and without that eventually rise to the highest echelons of the game and it is here that you will one day no doubt find Abigail Taiwah Mensah.