18.09.2004 Sports News

Bring back Ayew & Addo

By Kurt Odegbami
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He sexed up his resume, caused financial loss to the state and abandoned his job, yet the FA chairman had the balls to defend him by blaming somebody.

What am I talking about? Former national team coach, Barreto, did not tell Ghanaians the whole truth about himself , infact he lied, but we still gave him the job. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

He indeed caused massive financial loss to the state. Barreto, sent our Olympic team to camp in Portugal for three weeks and played friendlies against reserve sides when he knew Ghana would have been better off (money wise) by camping in Ghana.Worst of all, the local players belonging to both Hearts and Kotoko had to leave the teams' camp on different occasions to play for their respective clubs, because those teams were still in continental competitions. At one point a proposed friendly game against Bolton Wonderers had to be cancelled because Baretto could not raise a team.

Again the idea of the team camping in Portugal, was to train together so he could pick his final team of 18.

However, the final list of 18 players and the 4 stand byes were submitted to the LOC in Greece even before all the players had reported to camp.

I know for a fact that at the time that Barreto submitted his final team list, only Ibrahim Razak, Emmanuel Osei, Isaac Boakye and Patrick Villars were with the team.Obviously, all of these so called foreign based players were in camp early for reasons known to the me and Barreto. Three of them were infact inactive at that time.

That is why players like Obodai Anthony (has been fantastic the season) and Ishmeal Addo could not understand why they were dropped.

Furthermore, because of Barreto's poor planning, our local league was suspended and only God knows how much money the local clubs lost. At the end of the day, how many of the local boys effectively featured in the tournament? Proper dialogue and planning would have ensured that kotoko,who were the most affected with the selection of her players into the team could have continued with the league since technically it was only Charles Taylor and Chipsah they would have needed[ they were the only regulars in the kotoko team]

For lovers of more filla lets look at the kotoko players in the meteors vis-a vis their appearances for kotoko on the local front;

George Owu-not regular in kotoko

Alassan-not regular



Tierro-not regular

So in effect kotoko would have missed only Taylor and Chipsah and the league would have continued.

All these notwithstanding, Baretto did have some positive impacts on our game.

Yes, he qualified the Black Meteors to the Olympics after a 4 year absence and at least at the time he run away from his job, which I call a coward act, the Black Stars lie top of her group for qualification to Germany 2006.

His reign as national team coach also brought perhaps the best out of skipper Stephen Appiah.

Above all this, Barreto has laid a solid foundation for our qualification to the next world cup, a feat, we have to say ayekoo.

After this exit, there is the need for us to look at the legacy he has left behind and talk about areas we think are grey.

I will like to talk about goal scoring.

Barreto, played in two very high profile competitions, the Olympics and the on going world cup qualifications.

At the Greece games. Ghana played 3 games ,scored 4 goals and conceded 4. Of the four goals scored, none was scored by his strike force which included Baffour Gyan, Asamoah Gyan, Kojo Poku and Razak Pimpong.

In the world cup qualifications, Ghana has played 4 games all under Barreto. Scored 6 goals and conceded 2. Of the six scored, one has been scored by a striker ie Asamoah Gyan's goal in Uganda.

This depicts a very disturbing picture about our strike force .Sadly , most of the strikers who starred for Ghana at the olympics also worked for Barreto at the senior level with Ibrahim Tanko being the exception.

History and science of football has taught us that teams that have their strikers not firing on all cylinders do not win laurels, and this is the exact picture that we see or we saw under Barreto.

So on that bad day when Japan knifed Stephen Appiah in the bud, all went bad for Ghana.

For me now is the time for whoever takes over the vacant seat, to see how best he could sort out that grey area.

All the players (strikers) mentioned earlier like, the Gyan borthers, Ibrahim Tanko and Kojo Poku are very talented but I do not think they are cut yet for the battles ahead.

What we need is a bit of experience and proven 'fox in the box' (goal getter)

We do not need players who will be busy for 90 minutes but whose conversion rate is that bad.

I highly recommend that whoever takes control of the stars has a look at Kwame Ayew and Ishmeal Addo. Yes they are my first choice strikers for Ghana.

Hopefully Charles Amoah should be back in scoring form and I will not also bye pass him.

Did I hear somebody ask about why I have mentioned Ayew's name? Ayew plays in China, for Shanghai international, he is their top scorer, I saw him in pre-season against Bacelona and he is in good form. In the past he has done a decent job for Ghana so why not now?

Can somebody tell me why he has not featured in our scheme of things? No.. Certainly nobody will be able to give me any footballing reasons why Ayew has not played for us. We need to grow up. Age? Absolutely rubbish. You know and I know why.

With his experience and taste for success, he could guide the fox in the box Ishmeal Addo, who is a proven goal getter and now enjoying his game with Maccabi Tel Aviv to do a good job for us. Ishmeal knows nothing but to bury the balls in the net, that is what we need.

Obviously, other names like a fully fit Isaac Boakye, Matthew Amoah, Augustine Arhiful and even Arhin Duah, all come into mind.

But I sincerely think all of them, are better goal scorers that the ones we currently have.We need some steel in the team..

With the re-introduction of Sulley Muntari, (after some peace talks ,I hear he has apologised) Ghana, will not only qualify for the world cup but also do very well.

Now is time for the decision makers to stand and be counted, they dare not fail.

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