By Kwasi Amo-Mensah
It would take one a whole year in talking about football in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The capital itself, Koforidua which has table tennis as its top sport continues to develope talents after bringing into limelight the likes of Ibrahm Sunday, Esumang Dadzie, Agyemang Duah and Ahmed Mamoud. At the juvineille level, New Dwaben Commercial College has really made a mark in the Milo Soccer Competition organised for secondary schools and colleges. But for this college, I would not have heard about the exploits of Esumang ( National best Juvineille player, 1992) in the early 90s.
One man who needs commendation for making the region a home of soccer is Seth Yeboah, the founder and owner of Dawu Youngsters club.This man has single-handedly carried the club over the years and succeeded in building a stadium for the club. Dawu, the last club ex-Ghana International, Francis Kumi came into premiership in 1990/91 alongside Afienya United.
Remarkably, the Dawu`s Abdul Mumuni and Laud Oscar became the leading scorers in the 1992 and 1994 seasons respectively. Other clubs used to chase the signitories of the players. Interestingly, apart from Abdul Mumuni, Eugene Addo and Adjah Tetteh, no player has ever joined Hearts of Oak right from Dawu but Kotoko were lucky to get the services of Prince Amoako, Yaw Sekyi, Ahmed Mamoud, Siba Mumuni, Alex Nyarko, Joe Agyemang Snr and Ahmed Sayeed. I dont know how potent it is in the division two in Ghana at the moment but I hope to read something positive about them sooner.
One name that tops all names as far as Eastern Regional soccer is concerned is Okwahu United FC. In the mid 80s, Ibrahim Merigah, Alhaji Bello, Nana Yaw Amaning, Edward Aboagye really gave another dimension to Ghana soccer. The soccer mountaineers gave Asante Kotoko a stiff opposition until 1986, when Opopku Nti led onslought unsured unconvincing dominance by the Porcupine Warrios, winning 4:1 against Okwahu in an FA Cup final in Accra.
With the later siginings of Sam and Tony Yeboah and the aftermath inclusion of CK Akonnor, Odame Ampomah, Adolph MacCarhty (who led the club to an FA Cup semi-final in 1990) etc, Okwahu was still a force in Ghana soccer. The club has been there up to date with Maxbees, Sweduro All Blacks, Power FC ( play-off specialists) among other Eastern Regional sides also paying their dues to Ghana soccer. When All Blacks bounced back into premiership in 1998, the least did we expect their quick return to diviision two . They could boast of big names in Ghana soccer. Talk about Baba Adams, Ernest Boateng, Robbinson, Elis Opoku, then you are really mentioning names who could make something out of nothing in Ghana soccer but now , the club`s progress is going the opposite way and as to how soon they would come back into the premiership, one can hardly tell. Time will te! ll anyway. Power have been struggling to gain grounds in the premiership while Maxbees could survive in the premiership for just two seasons.
I believe there is more in respect of soccer in the Eastern Region which I do not know about. Like other regions, it is really helping in the progress of Ghana soccer.