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01.06.2004 Football News

Barreto bemoans negative Ghanaian attitude to national teams

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Accra, June 1, GNA - Mariano Barreto, coach of the senior national team, Black Stars has bemoaned the negative attitude of Ghanaians towards their own teams and has asked for a marked change in their approach if the country is to move forward.

Speaking in an interview with GNA Sports, the coach said it is strange and unheard of in any serious soccer country for local clubs to fight against selection of their players into national teams. "What is then the main aim of organising local soccer competitions if the local players are not allowed to play for the national teams. "What I find difficult to understand is that people at the forefront of the crusade against selection of players into the national teams are not Ghanaians but rather foreigners who are ably supported by some Ghanaians.," he added

The frustrated coach said he now understands why the game in Ghana is in the state in which it is presently.

Coach Barreto said it is important for all people affiliated to clubs to look for the welfare of their clubs but it is necessary for them to have it at the back of their minds that the nation's interest supersedes everything else.

The Coach said he would not force or beg any Ghanaian to release a player to feature for his own national team, adding that any honour that is won is not enjoyed by he the coach but by all.

He said from henceforth, players who would be invited to the national team would be those who are prepared wholly to feature for the national team and not those with divided attention.

"It is always good to support clubs, but we must also know that players are worth nothing if they do not play for their national teams,"

The coach denied circumventing laid down guidelines on player selection into the national team by personally calling them to camp. He said even though he talks to them on phone, he makes sure that the laid down procedure were followed by asking the GFA to write to the clubs.

Coach Barreto has come under fire in recent times from Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko and King Faisal for what they said was a move to distract the attention of their players with an international friendly match whilst they were busily preparing for their crucial continental club matches.

The three teams thus refused to allow their players to join the national under 23 for a friendly international against their Portuguese counterparts forcing the coach to use a makeshift team dominated by players from Feyeenord and AshantiGold who were beaten 6-1.

The coach said he was happy with the performance of the team and the whole stadium applauded their effort, knowing very well that they are not the regular team but a hurriedly assembled one.

Coach Barreto said, "What gladdened my heart most was the fact that the players I sent to Portugal were prepared to die and defend the flag of Ghana and that they were not there to play for me."

He said it is important for Ghanaians to note that cancelling such matches carry grave consequences, as the country could be taken to FIFA and blacklisted in addition to hefty fines.

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