National team coach, Mariano Barreto, has added his voice to the call for this year's Premier League to be rearranged to synchronise with the European calendar in order to save it from its present predicament. The Portuguese believes the nation's interest will be best served if the league is suspended till September to run concurrently with the European leagues.
“That is the best option in the circumstance as the current tight situation does not favour a smooth running of the league”, he emphasised.Speaking to the Graphic Sports in an interview last Tuesday, Coach Barreto said running the local league alongside that of Europe would afford our national teams an opportunity to arrange friendlies with their European counterparts, as well as pave way for adequate preparation for international assignments.
He explained that that option would also facilitate the availability of foreign-based players to feature for the nation when necessary because their break would fit into the break in the national programme.He pointed out that as a national team coach, he expected the policy makers to consult him for his opinion when the issue came up for discussion recently at the GFA Congress.
Barreto was in a dilemma as he struggled to review his programme with his technical team following the further postponement of the already delayed league through a court order.The Black Stars and Black Meteors coach intimated that in spite of the present problems facing the league, the competition is expected to suffer a one-month break in August to allow the Meteors to take part in the Olympics in Athens.
This, he said, would be preceded by other short breaks in May, June and July as the top four clubs honour their respective continental assignments, while the Black Stars tackle their crucial World Cup qualifiers against Burkina Faso and South Africa.He therefore questioned the essence in rushing to start the league by playing a few matches only to take a long break before resuming again in September after the Olympic Games.
“It will be better to wait and start the league in September to avoid any problems”, he put it bluntly. He disclosed that though the Black Stars were supposed to resume camping anytime soon, the current deadlock has left that arrangement hanging in the balance.
He, however, stressed the need for the Black Stars to regroup this month to prepare for two international away matches against Portugal and France on May 21 and 26 respectively.According to him, the two matches are aimed at preparing the Stars for their opening World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou on June 5.
Also on line is another international friendly against Mozambique on June 23 ahead of the next World Cup qualifier against South Africa in July,Coach Barreto also revealed that the Meteors will engage in a four-cornered tournament with three Portuguese top clubs — Benfica, FC Porto and Sporting Lisbon — on August 7 and 8 in Portugal before leaving for the Olympic Games on August 11.
The league which is far behind time was supposed to be saved by a zonal system expected to run for 16 weeks instead of the normal 30 weeks. However, the current injunction placed on it, which case is fixed for hearing at a Sekondi High Court on Monday has affected the first three league matches, thus worsening matters in the process.