Accra, September 7, GNA - The alleged departure of the Black Stars national coach, Mariano Barreto appears to have shaken the foundations of football to the core leaving many soccer administrators and fans asking what went wrong. Views sampled by the GNA Sports described the departure as heart rendering and an ill-timed one for the Nation's quest to qualify for the next World Cup slated for Germany in 2006. Though many of the soccer administrators were mute on the effect of the coach's departure, they reckoned that the timing is unacceptable and called for an immediate action to forestall any damage to the Nation's World Cup aspirations. "The news is simply unbelievable, I think it's important to establish contact with the coach to confirm or deny his departure". These were the words of Mr Kwasi Nyantekyie, Vice Chairman of the Ghana Football Association (GFA). He said, "The news shocked all of us and we initially thought it was a media gimmick. We have a genuine contract with Barreto and would not be happy if what we are hearing turns out to be true". The Vice Chairman said that all efforts by the GFA to reach the Portuguese coach for his comment has proved futile, adding that "We have not been able to reach him on his phone but we will keep on trying until we finally get him". The mood of Mr Abrah Appiah, Chairman of the Professional League Board (PLB) was not different from that of the GFA Vice Chairman. The PLB boss upon hearing the news said, "I simply do not want to believe it. I find it hard to accept the fact that the coach could leave us in midstream." He said that "The coach did not give us any reason to believe he had lost interest in the job and it's difficult to comprehend why he could not tell us bluntly that he wanted to leave". The PLB Chairman described the behaviour of the Portuguese as unacceptable saying, "I think the coach does not deserve to be taken serious by anyone should it be proven that he left without informing his employers".
Mr Appiah cautioned his purported new club to be mindful of the type of person they are dealing with, as it is obvious that he cannot be trusted.
He advised the GFA to pursue the coach and deal with him to serve as a deterrent to other coaches who will dare take the nation for granted. Mr Appiah on his comments about a possible replacement mentioned Accra Hearts of Oak's Cecil Jones Attuquayefio or the "multi system man' Sam Arday as the preferred choice for the job.
Abedi Ayew Pele, former skipper of the Black Stars told the GNA Sports that, "I am completely shocked and sad about the news. I find it difficult to believe it, it sounds like a complete dream".
The former Ghanaian international described the development as an unhealthy one, which has the tendency of affecting the Stars ambition of participating in her first World Cup.
"We have every good reason to be hugely disappointed more especially when he had won 16 times, lost and drawn one apiece in his 18 games played" he said.
Mr Kwasi Owuahene Acheampong, Accra Representative of AshantiGold insisted that the story was a fabricated one. "Mariano is expected back in the country on Friday and I know for a fact that he is in Portugal at the moment".
He said the coach did not give any reason to believe he was unhappy and wanted to leave.
The GNA Sports has learnt that coach Barreto who left Accra on Monday for Portugal to solve some personal problems at home sought a week permission from the football authority after supervising the Stars 2-0 scrappy performance against Cape Verde in a World Cup qualifier played in Kumasi last Sunday.
Barreto 47, was employed during the Ben Koufie administration in February this year after the untimely departure of another expatriate coach, Ralph Zumdick of Germany.
Coach Barreto signed a two-year renewable contract with the GFA and was given the task of qualifying the Black Stars and the national Under-23 team, the Black Meteors to the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the just ended Olympic Games in Athens Greece respectively.
The coach passed his first test by qualifying the Meteors to the Olympic Games after beating Zambia 2-0 in the final qualifier at the Kumasi Sports Stadium in a group that comprised South Africa and Algeria.
The Meteors however failed to reach the quarter-final's stage at the Olympic Games Soccer Tournament, when they crushed out after a 1-0 defeat to the "whipping boys" Japan in the last game of the group stages when the team needed just a draw to move to the next stage.
With the Black Stars, even though his team took an early stumble, with their opening group game against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou, the team recovered to win two and drew one of their next three matches to climb to the top of Group 2.
Under his technical leadership, the Black Stars and the Meteors, the two teams played a total of 18 matches, won 16, drew one and lost one.