23.05.2005 Confederation Cup

Ghana to make official protest to CAF and FIFA

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Accra, May 23, GNA - Ghana is to make an official protest to Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA about the bizarre circumstances under which the national Under 17 team, the Starlets lost to the Little Scorpions of the Gambia in the finals of the African Under 17 tournament played in Banjul, Gambia on Sunday.

The protest, which is to be expedited within 14 days of the end of the tournament was as a result of an incident when a spectator appeared in the goal-mouth of Ghana goal posts and subsequently entering the posts that led to the scoring of the only goal of the match.

The Minister of Education and Sports Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo who led Ghana's delegation to the tournament told the Press on his arrival at the airport that the incident surprisingly happened in the full glare of the Gambian President, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, CAF General Co-ordinator of the tournament, Madam Sue Destombes of South Africa and the Match Commissioner, Vuddamely of Mauritius.

Mr Osafo-Maafo said the interesting thing about the incident despite the vehement protestations of the Ghanaian players was that the Lesotho referee would not bulge.

" They're rules governing the game, in that 22 players and a referee are expected to be in the field of play (pitch) and if it happens that there is an intruder or an additional person, the referee should have brought the proceedings to a halt'. I believe that intruder went to disrupt the Ghanaian keeper just when the ball was being lopped into Ghana's goal mouth", he said.

The Minister described the incident as a disgrace to African football, adding that Africa has a long way to go in competitive tournaments if such bad officiating and unfairness becomes the hall-mark.

On preparations towards the forthcoming World Youth tournament in Peru, Mr Osafo-Maafo disclosed that on the team's return the players would go on a two-week recess after which they will move to camp at Winneba.

"We've a good team, we only need to work on our defences and forward lines and we will be in better shape for the tournament in Peru".

Mr Osafo-Maafo said although the Starlets failed to win the ultimate Cup, the players would be given special bonus as a motivation as well as to keep their moral high.

The team will engage in trial matches both local and international as well as travel to Peru ahead of schedule so as to acclimatise before the event.

The Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Mr Kwame Ampofo Twumasi and Mr Kennedy Agyepong, a Member of Parliament accompanied the Minister.

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