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25.06.2005 Sports News

Carpet Crossing In Soccer

Kwasi Amo-Mensah

Carpet crossing which occurs between rival clubs has a long history. Fans go through a lot of bitterness in the event of this. It is so agonising but nothing can stop it from happening in soccer.

Fans of FC Barecelona were compelled to swallow a bitter pill when their enterprising skipper, Figo Louis switched to no other club than their bitterest rivals, Real Madrid. Sol Campbell did it, from Tottenham Hotpurs to its north London rivals Arsenals, likewise Robert Baggio, from AC Millan to Inter Millan. Hossan Hassan and his brother Ibrahim had to go under guard in the early days of their transfer from AHLY to rivals Zamalek due to fear public of threat. For over twenty years now, no player has crossed carpets between Manchester United and my dear club Liverpool in England.

In a specific case of Ghana, the mere mention of this scenario brings to mind the carreer of Saara Mensah, who started with Bofoakwa Tano, joined rivals BA United before joining Kotoko in 1984. After his play abroad, he came back to BA in 1993 before rounding it up, again with Bofoakwa. Ebo Smith and John Ainoo were royals of Eleven Wise but ended up in rival club Hassacas. The rivalry between Eleven Wonders and Holy Stars football clubs in Techiman in the 80s was so keen that it might have taken Emmanuel Armah a lot of courage to cross carpet from the former to the latter in 1985. Incidentally, Armah was later to join the camps of city rivals Hearts of Oak and Great Olympics.

Kalilu Dramani, Edmund Copson, Yaw Sekyi, Emmanuel Yartey, Godwin Ablordey, Razark Musa, Eric Asamoah, Kwame Poku, Kofi Owusu, Agyemang Duah, Ahmed Mamoud, Jonas Akorli, Nicholas Addo, Lawrence Adjei, Joe Louis, Charles Taylor are household names that have played for both Kotoko and Hearts since 1990.

The last two decades witnessed Kotoko`s absorbtion of Ibrahim Gariba, Frimpong Manso, Kwaku Frimpong and Frank Amankwaah from rivals, Cornerstones. Comparatively, not so many deserted Kotoko to Cornerstones apart from PMK Kusi and a few others. The same period saw Paul Adjoda, Emmanuel Sackey, Ayitey Dormon, Usmanu Amadu, Razark Musa, Nii Darko Ankrah, Lamptei Lamptey and Charles Allotey from Great Olympics to Hearts of Oak.

In 1986, when Hearts of Oak, under Nyaho Tamakloe off-loaded squad, leaving Santrofie Acquah, Kotoko then led by Ofori Nnuako secured the services of Kofi Abbrey, Sampson Lamptey (Quathafi) and Thomas Hamond. Their combination with Sarfo Gyamfi, George Arthur, Sam Ayipey, Kwaku Minka, Ibrahim Babangida, Kwaku Fori, Saarah Mensah, Adae Kyenkyenhene, Isaac Eshun, Ahmed Rockson etc under coach Malik Jabir (my best Kotoko coach ever) really proved a success for Kotoko.

Opoku Afriyie`s switch from Kotoko to Hearts became a big talk in the 1980s. There was a lot of "Kotoko" in this player, having served the club for years and emerging as the skipper for the side. He left immediately El Ahly denied Kotoko the African Clubs Championship cup in 1982, by which time Seth Ampadu had joined Kotoko from Hearts and who was so instrumental in Kotoko`s continental glory of 83. After ending it all with BA Unted, Dan Owusu of Bofoakwa fame came out to say that, on his return from abroad, Bofoakwa were then in relegation and therefore opted to play for United.

Carpet crossing is a painful moment. However , it should be treated as an inevitable part of the game. Long Live soccer ! Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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