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22.03.2007 Football News

Starlets Coach Under Attack

By John Vigah, Kegue - Togo

Black Starlets’ head coach, Fred Osam Duodu, may soon be bidding farewell to his team, following the heart-rending semi-final loss to Togo last Tuesday.

The Ghanaian team slumped 1-2 which sent them settling for a less glamorous third place tie against Tunisia tomorrow.

Perhaps, tomorrow’s bronze-fighting tie at the ongoing Africa Under-17 Championship could be Duodu’s last adventure with the team he qualified to the FIFA World Cup in South Korea.

Reports from the camp of the Starlets hinted the Times Sports that the veteran coach had incurred the wrath of chieftains of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) by his decision to go soft on Nigeria in order to meet host nation Togo in the semi-final.

Duodu had told the Times Sports in an interview before the 0-2 loss to Nigeria in the last Group B game that it would be easier upstaging Togo in the last four than any order team in the campaign, a statement which has attracted a lot of condemnation from journalists here.

'It’s absolutely incredible to hear a coach say he will prefer playing one team to the order when he should be ready for every opposition in the tournament,' remarked South African freelance journalist, Julian Drew, who questioned the tactical depth of the Starlets.

'We saw the Togolese trainer play all his cards, one of who scored the crucial winner, while his Ghanaian counterpart made only a change when it was clear his boys were showing signs of fatigue,' Drew added.

Adding his voice, a Togolese freelance journalist, Denis Dowi, said the fact that the Starlets conceded late goals to Nigeria and Togo showed that all could not be well with the team.

However, coach Duodu has blamed Tuesday’s loss to Togo on bad officiating by Cameroonian referee, Zing Ongba, who he accused of 'intimidating my boys throughout the afternoon.'

Meanwhile, down-hearted players of the Black Starlets are still struggling to recover from last Tuesday’s 1-2 semi final defeat to Togo’s Junior Hawks, blaming it all on unfair officiating.

'I think we played our hearts out but the referee frustrated us and whistled against us at the least opportunity.

'From proceedings, it was obvious he simply wanted to show us the exit. We are really disappointed,' goal-merchant Sadick Adams lamented to the Times Sports yesterday.

The Ashgold Academy player may have spoken the minds of his colleagues most of who sat pensively in a hand-supporting-jaw posture at the team’s 2 Fevrier Hotel in Lome, not enthusiastic for an interview.

From the impression gathered, the Starlets need a psyching-up for their third place assignment tomorrow at the Kegue Stadium.