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20.12.2006 General News

Coker Upbeat Despite Doubts

By The Ghanaian Times
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DESPITE raised eyebrows over qualification of some of the nominations for election to the FA presidency, Mr Joseph Ade Coker, a former vice-chairman of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) believes he has what it takes to sail through.

Moments after the announcement of Mr Coker and Vincent Sowah Odotei's nominations, the last two to join the race, some soccer gurus questioned the legality of their nominations, arguing that the two cannot meet the requirement.

According to a top official of GHALCA, who spoke to this reporter on conditions of anonymity, the basis for the doubts over their qualification was against the backdrop that the last two candidates would not meet certain requirements from the nominees.

For instance, he explained that every candidate's nomination would have to be made and supported by premier league clubs and division one clubs who form the new executive committee.

However, the nominations of Messrs Coker and Odotei Sowah were made by clubs playing in leagues other than the premier or the division one leagues contrary to Article 28.2 of the FA statutes.

The above Article states that "any member may propose a candidate for the position of FA President. Such a nomination must be seconded by at least 10 members of the GFA Congress."

He told this reporter that if this should serve as the basis, then, the last two candidates, Messrs Ade Coker and Odotei would not pass the test.

But this assertion was contested by Mr Coker last weekend when he appeared on a local TV station to answer questions on his desire to come back to the football scene.

Although he failed to mention those who supported his nomination, Mr Coker said "my nomination was proper and I can assure you that I will sail through."

Mr Coker, a former chairman of division one side, Accra Great Olympics denied speculations that he was coming into the race because the Black Stars have qualified to the World Cup in Germany next year.

"The World Cup is not my motivation. What I can offer to Ghana football serves as my biggest motivation and not just participating in the World Cup," he said.

Commenting on allegations of player-transfers and conflict of interests levelled against him in a government white paper, the former FA Vice Chairman, noted that he did not do anything wrong and therefore does not warrant all these allegations.

Based on this, Mr Coker called on the other candidates to devise clean campaign strategies instead of hiding behind people to make unsubstantiated allegations.

He asked delegates to turn a blind eye to such unwarranted allegations and rather, look at a person's capabilities and what he can offer.

The former Olympics chairman expressed the hope that he stands a good chance of occupying the hot FA seat, but was quick to add that "this will be possible if the delegates would look at our abilities and what we can do."

Sounding philosophical, Mr Coker pointed out that the race is not for the swift, adding that "with my rich experience in football administration, the delegates must give me the nod."

When quizzed whether he will resort to the law court for redress if he is disqualified," Mr Coker amidst laughter said, "we will cross that bridge when we get there."

Commenting on the Black Stars preparation for the World Cup, the FA aspirant expressed the need for other players to be invited to justify their inclusion in the team to present a formidable team.

"Our players must also sacrifice their Christmas this year and prepare adequately for the Nations Cup in Egypt early next year which will be our springboard for the World Cup."

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