18.02.2004 Sports News

Carpet Crossing In Football

By Kwasi Amo-Mensah
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Carpet crossing, a feature of football has a long history. It happens between rival clubs and the impact is felt significantly by sympathisers of both teams with bitterness being the bottom line. When it comes, fans should exercise patience since it is one of those occurences in football.

We remember the reaction by El Ahly fans when Hossan and Ibrahim Hassan left the club to join rivals Zamalek. It was a bitter pill for them to swallow but what could they do about it? The players wanted to go. The two had to enjoy securiy escort in the early days of the transfer due to fear of threat. Little did Barcelona fans expect that their whole skipper Loius Figo would desert them to no other club than rivals Real Madrid. But the player allowed it to happen. Sol Campbell did it, from Tottenham to their north London rivals Arsenals and Robert Bagio, from AC Millan to Inter Millan.

In the specific case of Ghana, the mere mention of this issue brings to mind the carrier of Saara Mensah who started with Bofoakwa Tano, joined rivals BA United before joining Kotoko in 1984. After his play abroad, he came back to BA in 1993 before ending it all again with Bofoakwa. However one need not be too surprised because that is a happening in soccer. Ebo Smith and John Ainoo were royals in Eleven Wise yet they both ended up in rival club Hassacas. The rivalry between Eleven Wonders and Holy Stars in Techiman in the 80s was to the extent that it might have taken Emmanuel Armah a lot of courage to cross carpet from the former to the latter in 1985. Incidentally this player was later to join the camps of two city rivals Hearts of Oak and Great Olympics.

Kalilu Dramani, Edmund Copson, Yaw Sekyi, Emmanuel Yartey, Godwin Ablordey, Kwame Poku, Kofi Owusu, Agyemang Duah, Ahmed Mamoud, Nicholas Addo Charles Taylor are among names that have played for both Kotoko and Hearts since 1990. I learned from this site that Charles Taylor`s move to Kotoko was complicated.

The last two decades witnessed the absorbtion into Kotoko, players from city rival Cornerstones. Ibrahim Gariba, Frimpong Manso, Kwaku Frimpong, Frank Amankwaah etc came to Kotoko. Comparatively, Kotoko did not have more players moving to Cornerstones apart from PMK Kusi and a few others. The same period saw Paul Adjoda, Emmanuel Sackey, Ayitey Dormon, Charles Allotey etc from Great Olympics to Hearts of Oak.

Opoku Afriyie`s switch from Kotoko to Hearts became a talk in the 1980s. There was a lot of Kotoko in this player, having served the club for years and emerging as the skipper. He left immidiately after El Ahly denied Kotoko the African Clubs Championship cup in 1982 by which time Seth Ampadu had joined Kotoko from Hearts and who played an instrumental role in Kotoko`s continental glory of 83.

In 1986, when Hearts embarked on mass dismal of players, Kotoko under Ofori Nuako administration secured the services of Kofi Abbrey, Sampson Lamptey and Thomas Hamond from Hearts. Playing alongside Sarfo Gyamfi, George Arthur, Sam Ayipey, Abdul Razark, Isaac Eshun Ahmed Rockson etc under coach Malik Jabir, they did well for Kotoko. However, few years later, Hammond rejoined Hearts after Eshun.

Carpert crossing in football is an interesting part of the game. It happens and when it does, fans should accept it in good faith. In such situations, we should let peace reign for the beauty of the game.

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