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Football News | Oct 27, 2004

Former Ivorian soccer star gives GFA thumps up

GNA

Accra, Oct. 27, GNA - Former Ivorian soccer star, Abdulai Traore, a key figure in that country's football set up which terrorised the Black Stars and Asante Kotoko in the 1990s has given Ghana's soccer authorities thumps up for recognising the achievements of old players and grafting them into sports administration.

He mentioned in particular Abedi Ayew Pele, who is Ghana's Sports Ambassador Extraordinaire and a management member in the Ben Koufie Administration.

Traore told the GNA Sports in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire, during the Satellites-Young Elephants qualifying match on Sunday that there was too much politics in the Ivorian FA such that the views of old players were always ignored.

Benbodi as he is affectionately called, hanged his boots four years ago with a Southern Arabian club Al Attifa bringing to end an illustrious 20-year career.

Ghana's old footballers became prominent in the running of the game in the country during Koufie's administration in which most of the veterans were heads in the Regions in the GFA's five-year development programme.

A lot more became either coaches or welfare managers of the national teams or masseurs.

Benbodi said it was better to allow those who have featured in a particular sport to be given the chance to contribute to its development since they were in a better position to fully appreciate the problems associated with it.

He was full of praise for the Black Satellites, saying that even though they failed to qualify for Benin 2005, they showed lots of potential and prospects.

On the contrast, he said that the level of local football in Cote D'Ivoire has gone down tremendously because apart from Asec Mimosa, which has an academy, the FA does not have a policy of developing the game at the grass root.

Traore said the Ivorian national teams were winning because they have many foreign-based players who are doing well in Europe but wondered whether there was any plan to replace the present crop of players should they fade out.

He recalled with nostalgic memory two important matches he featured for ASEC and his national team against Kotoko and the Black Stars respectively.

He scored twice in a 3-2 win over Kotoko in 1992 at the Kumasi Sports Stadium after Kotoko had won the first leg in Abidjan. He again netted the winner against the Black Stars during the 1994 Cup of Nations in Tunisia. One of the Ivorian "terrorist" Joel Tiehe (the other is Sekou Bamba) opened the scores but C. K. Akonnor cancelled it for Ghana before Traore hammered home the winner.

Currently he is in talks with French first division side Auxrre to form a nursery team (Academy) in Cote D'Ivoire.

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