Coach Mariano Barreto has fined Black Meteors striker Kwadwo Poku $ 500 for deserting camp to travel for trials in Germany without authority on the eve of the Meteors' penultimate Olympic Games qualifier against South Africa. The fine is to be paid to the team to serve as a deterrent to other players, and instil the necessary discipline into the national game.
Consequently, the coach has invited the striker back to camp with immediate effect to prepare for the last group match against the Young Chipolopolo of Zambia at the Kumasi Sports Stadium on Sunday.Barreto announced this during a news conference he held at the Crystal Rose Hotel in Kumasi last Monday.
Poku, who was present at the news conference, apologised to the coach for what happened and promised that it would never happen again.Coach Barreto, however, shut the door to Poku's striking partner, Bernard Don Bortey at least for the match against Zambia.
According to Barreto, Bortey had not shown remorse for travelling to Germany for trials without authority when the team needed his services for that crucial match against South Africa.Barreto stated that he wanted to instil discipline into the team and would not countenance any acts that would derail his plans.
The coach used the opportunity to dismiss rumours that he snubbed the media when they wanted to interview him after the Meteors' Olympic qualifying match against Algeria in Kumasi.He explained that he wanted to have his peace of mind after some media bashing over his appointment as national coach.
Barreto said as a human being he felt peeved by the unwarranted attacks on his person when it was unnecessary. He promised to work in close collaboration with the media to lift up the national game.
The coach called on the media to whip up support from the fans to ensure victory for the Meteors on Sunday. He also denied media reports that he wanted the match against Zambia to be played in Accra.
Barreto said he appreciates the massive support given by the fans in Kumasi during the match against Algeria, and expressed the hope that they would turn up in their numbers to cheer the boys to victory on Sunday.