CAF Quashes Al-Ittihad Protest
THE CONFEDERATION of Africa Football (CAF) has thrown out a protest lodged against Kotoko by Al-Ittihad of Libya, paving way for the Porcupine Warriors to progress to the lucrative group stage of the Africa Confederations Cup tournament.
The Porcupine Warriors are placed in group B with JSK of Algeria, Etoile Du Sahel of Tunisia and Al Merreik of Sudan, after clearing the last hurdle with a 4-3 aggregate win over A-Ittihad of Libya.
Al-Ittihad, after the defeat lodged a protest to CAF against Kotoko for fielding an unqualified player in the person of Godfred Yeboah.
In their statement of claim, the Libyans accused Kotoko of fraudulently fielding Godfred Yeboah who was loaned out to Wa All Stars earlier in the season.
But acting on reports sent to it by the Inter Clubs Committee, CAF threw out the protest on grounds that it was not filed in accordance with laid-down procedure of the association as enshrined in Article 20 of CAF.
Mr. Soulemana Abouba, Communications Director of CAF who divulged this in a radio interview in Kumasi, added that no proof of fraud was found against Kotoko in the case as Al-Ittihad claimed.
However, he stated that the matter was quashed on technical grounds but the substantive case would be determined on September 12, 2008 at a meeting of CAF.
Mr. Abouba thus warned Kotoko not to use Godfred Yeboah in their next match of the tournament until CAF gives their verdict on the substantive issue on the aforementioned date.
He noted that so far neither of the two parties was fined by CAF, adding, “That would be determined on September 12, 2008”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Souleman Benhad, Administrative Manager of Al-Ittihad in an interview noted that his team is yet to hear from CAF. “We are not aware of the verdict yet as I speak with you now”.
On his part, Mr. George Amoako, Management Member of Kotoko confirmed CAF's judgment and said he knew in advance that Kotoko would emerge winners in the case since they did not err in any way by fielding Godfred Yeboah against Al-Ittihad.
In a related development, news reaching DAILY GUIDE SPORTS has it that Kotoko has omitted Yeboah's name from its squad that will emplane tomorrow to face Etoile Du Sahel in the first group match of the competition on August 15, 2008.
Yeboah's place is said to have been taken by Isaac Anderson, but reports reaching the paper say Anderson cannot make the trip due to lack of proper documentations; therefore Kotoko would make the trip with 17 players instead of 18 players.
Still on the issue, there was spontaneous uproar and cheers in the Garden City on Monday morning when Kotoko fans learnt that the Ghana Champions have been cleared by CAF to participate in the tournament.
An elated Kotoko fan, Kwaku Obeng aka 'Owura', a barber at Airport Roundabout predicted that Kotoko would conquer Africa this year after overcoming the Al-Ittihad scare.
From Fred J.A. Ibrahim Jnr., Kumasi