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14.07.2004 Football News

GHALCA still keen on top four competition

By GNA

Accra, July 14, GNA - The Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA), organisers of the Coca-Cola Top 4 Competition, has not yet given up the hope of partaking in the International Top Four competition featuring clubs from Ghana and South Africa.

In an interview with the GNA Sports in Accra, Mr Kudjo Fianoo, Administrative Secretary of GHALCA said the mere fact that the proposed date for the competition has come and gone does not mean the "death" of the competition.

He said the Association is in constant touch with its compatriots in South Africa, Professional Soccer League (PSL), organisers of a similar competition, to see how the competition could be rescheduled. Mr Fianoo said his optimism that the competition would be held stem from the fact that both parties involved want the competition to come off, hence they are in constant touch with each other.

He said the PSL would soon dispatch its marketing manager to the country for talks on how to fix a suitable new date for the competition. Mr Fianoo said the two parties would also discuss a South African suggestion that the competition be switched to Ghana so as to reverse the original schedule that Ghana was to host the second leg encounter. He said GHALCA is however not keen on that move presently, considering the huge overhead expenditure of about 250,000 dollars that involved and also due to the fact that the date is too short.

"We cannot hold it at such short notice as we do not have the sponsorship and also the fact that proceeds from the gates cannot cover the cost involved, hence we would insist that the competition takes place in South Africa where they already have sponsors."

He said what GHALCA intends doing is to ride on the success of the maiden tournament in South Africa to secure the needed sponsorship before they host the second tournament.

"As things stand now, we do not know what will happen next, but something would have to be started since every beginning does not come on a silver platter," he added.

GHALCA three years ago introduced a four club pre-season competition for teams that finish within the first four positions on the Premier League table to prepare the teams for the continental club championships, which starts before the local league.

The competition took international dimension last year when GHALCA brokered a deal with the PSL to bring the first two in the respective competitions to a grand top four competition.

The prospects of travelling to South Africa added more spice to this year's competition as the winner was scheduled to take home 100,000 dollars with the runners up getting 50,000 dollars in addition to huge appearance fees.

The first competition was scheduled to come off in South Africa about a month ago but was called off after that country's soccer was rocked by a damaging referee scandal, which resulted in the arrest for questioning of many of the administrators of the game. GHALCA on the other hand originally too had a space on the GFA calendar to allow the two clubs that qualified from the Ghanaian edition, King Faisal and Kumasi Asante Kotoko to participate in the competition.

But the plans were scampered when the league went on an indefinite break to allow the senior national team, the Black Stars and the Olympics team, the Black Metoers prepare for the World Cup qualifiers and the Athens Olympic Games respectively. 15 July 04

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