Black Stars' Welfare Officer, Alhaji Maikanoo, has unravelled the mystery surrounding the dropping of enigmatic Charles Taylor from the team which was held to a barren draw by DR Congo in a crucial Africa Group Two World Cup qualifier at the Kumasi Stadium last Sunday.
According to him, he did everything within his power to get the passport of Taylor,as well as that of each of the other 19 invited players, in time for the necessary pre-match formalities, but unfortunately Taylor's passport never reached him. This, he said, was after some Kotoko officials had given him a firm assurance that the passport would be made available to him for the pre-match inspection.
Explaining the issue to the Graphic in an interview last Wednesday, Maikanoo disclosed that as has been the routine, he had in his possession 13 passports which were handed to him by the GFA Protocol Officer, Mr Alex Asante, through the chairman of the Stars' Management Committee, Mr Fred Pappoe, as at 10 p.m. on Friday.
He said while he succeeded in collecting the passports of Hamza Mohammed, Baffour Gyan and Kofi Amponsah which were in their possession in camp, those of three Kotoko players — George Owu, Godfred Yeboah and Taylor — were still not available. He said based on that he called to inform the Chief Executive of Kotoko, Major Yaw Larson (retd), who in turn assured that the passports would be ready before the necessary formalities.
According to the Stars Welfare Officer, he later inquired from the Accra Representative of Kotoko, Mr Jerry Asare, about the issue and was told that frantic efforts were being made to send the passports to him in Kumasi in time. He said it was during the interactions with Mr Asare that he was told that Taylor's passport could not be traced in the office of the Director of Passports.
He explained that though an original passport was required for the inspection, it was agreed that a photocopy of Taylor's passport be secured from the passport office in the interim while the search for the original one continued. Alhaji revealed that after going through some anxious moments, he finally took possession of the passports of Owu, Yeboah, Tiero (who was injured though) in addition to Tierro Taylor's duplicate passport at the Ford Station in Kumasi on Saturday night.
He said, he accordingly notified Coach Sam Arday and, Mr Pappoe about the situation, while still anticipating a favourable response which never came, in spite of the fact that the pre-match conference was rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday following the Congolese's late arrival.
When Graphic contacted Coach Arday on the issue, he described it as unfortunate and stressed that the skilful midfielder featured in his plan for the match.
He said he was quite disturbed by the situation, especially because he intended using him as a substitute in the game.“Taylor worked so hard and was enthusiastic throughout our preparations”, Coach Arday observed.
The Accra Representative of Kotoko confirmed the story and revealed that though he did his best to get Taylor's passport to enable him to play, it was later realised that the passport had not reached the director's desk yet at the time of the search.
He explained that he had sent the player's passport, which was then full, to the passport office for an attachment to be done to enable the player to travel with Kotoko to Angola for Sunday's Confederation Cup game against Petro Athletico in Luanda.