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11.05.2007 General News

They Plead For Clemency

Starlets' welfare officer and team masseur are pleading for clemency after the two were expelled from the team this week.

Laud Serwornu, the team masseur, is claiming innocence of the charges that have rendered him jobless, while Richard Asare, the welfare officer, is pleading for a second chance at the job he has held for at least the last eight years.

The two were dismissed from the technical set-up of the national Under-17 football team for offences that ranged from extortion, insubordination, breaking camping rules, among others.

The two were expelled on the recommendations of the management team of the Starlets that investigated various developments in the team running through their qualifying campaign to their participation in the African Championship in Togo last March.

Asare, who insisted that his life virtually depended on his role in the Starlets team, was accused of extorting money from the players on the premise of securing their places in the team, breaking camping regulations by entertaining his wife at the team's hotel in Lome, Togo, and breaking a rule on confidentiality.

Serwornu, who lost his child while in Togo with the Starlets and returned to duty after burying him in Ghana, was accused of displaying insubordination in different forms.

In the first instance, he was accused of staging a boycott of a bonus package when the team beat Cote d'Ivoire in the qualifiers in Sunyani, while he was cited for defying orders in public by protesting openly against his exclusion from the medal list when the Starlets won bronze at the African Championship.

But Serwornu said in both instances he acted on instructions from his team coaches and never behaved arbitrarily.

“In Togo, it was (Coach) Osam Duodu who asked me to be in the queue for the medals,” he said, adding that his rejection of the bonus in the Sunyani match was also occasioned by a decision by the leadership of the technical team.

The coach in the Sunyani instance was Bashiru Hayford who himself does not appear to have any prospects of a return to the national side after publicly contesting his bonus issue at a time he remained under an eight-match CAF ban.

Story by Michael Quaye