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14.01.2006 Sports News

Encountering Soccer In The Central Region

By Kwasi Amo-Mensah

Cape Coast continues to establish itself as a point of soccer in the central region of Ghana. Indeed, the power sharing between Ebusua Dwarfs and Venomous Vipers has a long history and in most cases it is Dwarfs that proves superior with regard to matches between the two. Until 2004, Vipers had not beaten Dwarfs in a league match for over a decade.

On the juvenile level, the historic performance of Cape Coast Technical School in the 90s in the Milo soccer competition organised for schools and colleges was clear for all to see. I am not very sure if footballers from the various schools in Cape Coast usually play for clubs in the region. Bafuor Gyan and his brother, Asamoah opted for Liberty Professionals other than a central regional club right from their school days at Cape Coast, likewise Michael Essien. Richard Ackon who decided otherwise has really been in the fore front of central regional soccer since his success story with the Black Starlets in 1995.

I don't think it is any mistake for one to vote Robert Mensah for the all-time best of the region ahead of equally big names like Ben Koufie, Aggrey Fynn and Joe Carr. Arguably, the individual brilliance of! Robert Mensah and Carr won Asante Kotoko continental trophy in 1970/71 and 1983 respectively. Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak would be the first to testify the prowess of Ebusua Dwarfs in the premiership over the years. As recently as 1999, Dwarfs, with Michael Osei, Matthew Atiogbe and Emmanuel Osei Kufuor managed to beat the Porcupine Wariors 4:3 in Kumasi. For Hearts of Oak, last season recorded one of their worst performances against Dwarfs after a brace of defeat in both Accra and Cape Coast. When everyone was looking to Dwarfs under coach EK Afranie to win the coveted CAF Cup in 2000, Ismailia club of Egypt with John Utaka and Mohamed Barakat kicked them out on the way to the trophy.

It is so unfortunate that since Cape Coast Sidiu Park/ Robert Mensah Sports Stadium came into being, Dwarfs have never survived the premiership beyond two seasons. In the case of Vipers, they have not been able to qualify to premiership at all. With Alex Techie Menson, Stephen Owusu, Joe Sam, Silas Owusu, Patrick Villas and Ahmed Oguaa, Ebusua Dwarfs became a team to be! at in the premiership. I might have been surprised to hear a name like Ahmed Oguaa not ever play a club in Oguaa (Cape Coast) in his career. I simply don't understand why Dwarf``s Justice Abban was given all sorts of names for scoring a "famous" own goal in the early 90s. Remember, football has its rough edges. Quite apart from that he was not the first person to have put the ball in the wrong net.

It is so early to forget Assin Fosu Soccer Missionaries who as well tasted premiership in the early 90s. Incidentally, as the club was facing relegation in 1991, its leading players comprising Kelvin Essien, Ben Owu, Kofi Mbeah Jnr and Willie Brown were out in Italy helping the then national under 16 team (Starlets) lift the FIFA/JVC trophy. Their marksman, Augustine Ahinful switched to Obuasi Goldfields the following season. After excelling in the World Youth Championship in Australia and emerging the premiership`s top scorer, Ahinful was then voted by Toyota as Ghana`s most exciting player for the year 1993.

When Sweduro All Blacks bounced back to premiership in 1997, the least did I expect their quick return to division one. All Blacks had sensational players premiership could boast of. Talk about Baba Adams, Ernest Boateng, goalkeeper Robertson, Amponsah Ankrah, then you are talking about players who could make something out of nothing in Ghana soccer. I am hoping against hope that they come back to premiership to once again rob shoulders with Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak. As to how soon they would come, we are yet to see. Nana Arhin Duah, a true Agona Sweduro boy maintains a personal "record" of not playing for any club in the region so far in his career.

At long last, Gomoa are boasting of a premiership club in Fayeenord Academy. One may wonder the possi! ble survival of the club should their parent club, SC Fayenoord Rotterdam in Holland withdraw all forms of assistance to this great Gomoa club. Anyway, that is none of my business. However, should it happen, the club would be in a possible danger. That is the more reason why they should look to total self-support to meet possible disappointments in event of crisis.

A lot has been discussed on the state of soccer in the central region of Ghana. I believe there is more to this passage somewhere which I do not know about. Long Live Ghana soccer! Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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