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11.06.2005 Sports News

Tribute To Ofei Ansah

Ofei Ansah… Always Committed, Never appreciated!! Ofei Ansah, the greatest full back in the history of Ghana football was a man who maintained his dignity to the end.

A faithful servant of Hearts of Oak both as a player and as a coach, Ofei lived his life with grace through a myriad of financial, marital and psychological pressures that have contributed to his premature end.

As someone who knew Ofei and spoke to him a few weeks ago, I am sorry to see him go, but maybe at long last, Ofei will find the peace he deserves.

Ofei Ansah was so committed to Hearts as a player that he would take his instructions on how to tackle opposing attackers from the supporters. For those of us who are old enough to remember, his treatment of Hafia's then feared marksman Bengally Sylla at the Accra Sports Stadium in 1979 was a hallmark of his resolute will to defend the cause of Hearts of Oak. As a coach, he showed no less a passion for his job.

Despite his sterling services to Hearts and the Black Stars since his boyhood days, supporters of Hearts of Oak (including myself) never ever accepted him fully.

If it wasn't accusing him of collecting bribe as a player, it was his apparent incompetence as a coach, or his supposed promotion of indiscipline in camp. If we were not calling him names, we were threatening to forcibly remove him from the training ground.

Maybe, just maybe, it was ironic albeit appropriate that Ofei had to be carried from the stadium incapacitated after putting one over his old boss Jones. That was the sort of grit that Ofei was made of. You had to virtually “kill” him, to stop him.

Maybe it is the stuff of which legends are made that Ofei has given all of us the finger by making as dramatic an exit as the memories of his tackles, free kicks and playing days remind us of.

I am sure Ofei is now resting in the peaceful arms of the Almighty, where there is no pain, no anguish and no ingratitude.

Perhaps Ofei's mode of departure will clinch life's pertinent argument that "Ntoboase wie nkunim die"

For all of us who wither under the rays persistent pressure to be accepted, let us not forget how fragile the life that we live is. Ofei departed with a great big hurrah, and maybe, just maybe, he will achieve in life, what he so much sought, but failed to achieve.

Ofei just wanted one thing! Only one thing!

To be accepted by Hearts of Oak!

Okwanso bre bre Okatakyie,

Ofei, you made your point, now rock on my man!!!