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07.03.2006 Football News

Boakye Damns GFA

By Graphic
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Black Stars striker, Isaac Boakye, seething with anger at attempts to question his loyalty and commitment to national duties, says he has never turned his back on Ghana in favour of club duties.

He suspects that some people are out only to tarnish his image as a way of strengthening their resolve to push him out of the national team.

Last Wednesday the Arminia Bielefeld player called from his German base to react to a Graphic Sports story the previous day that implied that the player, infuriated at his exclusion from the African Cup of Nations squad, had turned down an invitation to join the Black Stars for the Mexico game in Dallas.

Boakye claims that the Ghana Football Association (GFA) sent him a late invitation and the officials did not go the extra mile to ensure he got an American visa to travel to the US for last Wednesday's friendly with Mexico.

"I've never said I won't play for the Black Stars. Apart from Alex Asante (the GFA's Protocol Officer), I haven't spoken to any official for anyone to claim that I told him I won't play for the nation," Boakye said.

"Even though the GFA sent me a late invitation my team released me for the game and I did my best to secure a visa but the authorities did not help in things we were finding difficult."

The striker claimed he was all dressed up and ready to join his colleagues for the Mexico game, and believed he could have made it to Dallas had the GFA and Ministry of Education and Sports facilitated his visa acquisition as was done for one of the team's foreign-based players.

"If the GFA were insistent on me joining the team in Dallas when I was facing problems, they could have asked me to come down to Accra for the visa like they did for one of my colleagues," he said.

Speaking in a tone of mixed emotions, Boakye did not hide his indignation at what he perceived to be a smear campaign by his detractors.

He claimed he twice drove over five hours from his Bielefeld base to the US Embassy in Berlin after his team had released him for the international friendly, but was not allowed to process his visa application because the GFA did not book an appointment on his behalf as demanded by the US Embassy.

The Bielefeld striker explained that he only received an invitation via a telephone call from GFA's protocol officer, Mr Alex Asante, while travelling on his team bus for an away match.

He, therefore, asked former Ghanaian international, Tony Baffoe, who commands a great deal of respect in German football circles, to negotiate his release on behalf of the GFA.

After securing his release, Boakye claimed, Bielefeld communicated their position to the GFA that the player was free to honour the Mexico game.

Boakye, who claimed he had not spoken to any other GFA official apart from Mr Asante since the Nations Cup in Egypt, added he was ever ready to honour any national invitation, even though he was ready for the worst case scenario.

"I am always ready to play for the Black Stars when invited. I am fully aware nobody has an automatic place in the team and I will not fret when dropped at any particular time," said the player who last played for Ghana last August in the penultimate World Cup qualifier against Uganda.

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