Ghana goalkeeper, Danlad Ibrahim, was livid by accusations of age-cheating.
The shot-stopper first made headlines in 2017 when he represented Ghana at the U17 World Cup in India aged 14, the youngest member of the team at the time.
Two years on, he graduated to the Ghana U20 squad that played at the Afcon in Niger and made a return to the tournament again this year with the Black Satellites being triumphant in Tanzania earlier this month.
“I was so down when we went to the Under-17 World Cup and people back home were accusing me of age cheating,” Danlad, who recently completed a loan move from Asante Kotoko to King Faisal, told Untoldstories TV GH.
“I was feeling very bad because I was fighting for my country and my people are doing this to me on social media and everywhere.
“It affected me and it showed in our game against Mali which I even made a mistake and we got eliminated from the competition.
“But now I have grown to accept that criticism is part of the job as Neymar always says. So now it doesn’t worry me at all when people make those accusations against me,” he said.
At the U17 World Cup, Ghana reached the quarter-final before losing 2-1 to continental counterparts Mali, the winning goal a result of a Danlad error.
“Sometimes when playing in the rains, the gloves get so wet and slippery,” Danlad said of his costly error after Ghana’s elimination at the time.
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”I made my mind to push the ball out because I didn’t want to take the chance of trying to grab it. There was not so much power behind the ball and I didn’t get the movement of the ball well.
”It pains me a lot that the team couldn’t go beyond this stage. We had plans of taking the name of Ghana high in this competition, but it didn’t work out. I’m sorry for the mistake I committed,” he added.
Danlad’s good showing in Tanzania saw him adjudged as the Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
On his return to Ghana, he and Steadfast FC attacker Abdul Fatawu Issahaku and Dreams FC right-back Philemon Baffour were drafted into the senior squad ahead of upcoming Afcon qualifying matches against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe.