Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako - The Writer

I recall vividly what my great sports writing mentor the legendary Peter Wilson of the London Daily Mirror wrote when Charles Sonny Liston, “the fearsome bad man of boxing was knocked out in the first round by Muhammad Ali in the very first round of their return world heavyweight boxing title fight in the US”.

“Liston did not shame sport that raised him from the doldrums”, was the tickling headline for the trademark punch for punch boxing report in the Daily Mirror. Peter was devastated that Liston dud not put up his best and robbed fans of their money as some of them were entering the boxing arena when the fight ended so abruptly

I would like to paraphrase Peter Wilson’s headline by appealing to the current generation of Ghana’s football administrators “not to shame the sport that has given them a lot of fame.”

It is disappointing to see how poorly the flagship programme Premier League has been run of late. All indications create the impression the fixtures are drawn without taking a lot of factors into consideration. Otherwise how do you have, for example, a Monday match at Cape Coast Stadium featuring Akim Oda Kotoku Royals against Nsoatreman from Brong.

I pity Royals for being forced to play all their matches outside Oda because their home pitch does not match the GFA standards.  This should be big news for those of us fans of Susu Biribi who patronised the all standing palm branches fenced Tafo Rovers park decades ago where the Kwaebibrem boys nearly won the 1969 league placing a narrow second place to Asante Kotoko with 29 points as the champs had 30 points.

I admit we have come a long way since the 60s that’s why one would have expected the FA to use part of the World Cup windfall to polish up Oda Stadium to be fit for purpose.

Kotoku Royals put up a great effort to bring Premier league to the bustling Eastern Region town of Oda and they should have had some support and

encouragement from both the National Sports Authority and the Ministry of Sports to make their dream a reality. It’s such a complete let down and political indiscretion you have to question what role the two bodies play at all in the administration of the nation’s favourite pastime.

It is clear both the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority are behaving like gaping sycophants allowing the FA to take the whole football populace for a big ride. A big pity that the long serving weekend entertaining programmes that turned football pitches into carnivals across the country is now suspiciously a haven for betting syndicates. This is a serious development that calls for prompt attention. It is said that a stitch in time saves nine. They promised to bring back the love but it appears to be the other way round.

Some of us were lucky enough to have seen the good old amateur football days where non-professionals played with passion and sense of purpose and you left stadium satisfied you haven’t

thrown away money even if your favourite team lost. I and my compatriots will continue to savour the good old days.

On that note I continue with the profiles of

Asante Kotoko 1982 Africa Cup squad and Hearts of Oak 1985 Africa Cup squad.

Peter Okyere

Peter Okyere

Peter was the regular right winger for Asante Kotoko until the club signed on international star John Bannerman from Sekondi Eleven Wise. He has very effective crosses which yield good dividends but he appears to lack big match temperament.

Born at Okyerekrom on Nov 4, 1958 to Opanin Isaac Kumi a farmer and Madam Yaa a trader, Okyere started big time soccer in 1977 with Kumasi Cornerstone. He switched to GIHOC Stars before finally settling with Kotoko in 1980.

Not married Okyere’s hobbies are Table Tennis and Bible reading. His best ambition is to catch the selectors eyes for the Black Stars.

Joe Gyekye is his favourite local player and Abdul Razak is his idol abroad. Kotoko’s impressive 6-0 victory over Kampala City Council stands out as the happiest moment in his soccer career and the 2-0 defeat by Great Olympics is the saddest.

Dogo Moro

Dogo Moro, last of the trenchant Kotoko First FA Champs in 1958 is dead

Akwetey Quaye (Joe Tex)

Akwetey Quaye (Joe Tex)

Popularly known as Joe Tex, Accra born Akwetey

Quaye is a very slippery midfielder. He is always in the thick of events and this has earned him a series of serious knocks, thus disturbing is regular appearances for the champion club.

He is famous for his brilliant solo runs, which have earned his club several unexpected victories. Joe Tex is generally regarded as a super substitute and he has almost always justified this appellation.

A product of Kaneshie Technical school Joe Tex took to active soccer in 1979 when he registered for the defunct Dumas Football Club of the Ghana Textile Printing Company. He left  a year later and after a brief sojourn with Agona Fankobaa signed for Asante  Kotoko in 1981.

Twenty-year-old Quaye’s ambition is to play professional soccer. Brazilian wizard dribbler Zico is his idol. Papa Arko is his local favourite player.

Still a bachelor table tennis is Quaye’s hobby.

Mr J O Quaye an Accra businessman and Vicky Acquaye are his parents Hearts of Oak 1985 squad.

Opoku Afriyie

Opoku Afriyie  

“Businessman”, “Bayie” “Ayen”, “Nii Opoku”, you name them, they are all appellations for the 30-year-old forward player perhaps the most controversial and one of the best goal scorers the nation has produced.

Former captain of Asante Kotoko, Opoku Afriyie was retired by the Yaw Bawuah administration at the end of the 1982 season.

He was inactive for a whole year before being signed on by Hearts last season and he contributed a lot to Hearts first league triumph in five years.

Opoku was born on Feb 2 1955 in Kumasi to

Nana Kofi Poku, Oyokohene of Kumasi and Madam Abena Mansa both farmers.

The two times goal king started playing soccer at the age of ten and was a prominent player for Kumasi Hearts Babies Colts team.

He has several international honours to his credit but perhaps he is best remembered for the two goals he scored against Uganda in the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations Cup final which won Ghana the cup for keeps.

Opoku’s favourite player in Ghana is Ember Owusu Sekyere and Roger Milla of Cameroon is his idol abroad Azumah Nelson is one other sportsman he most admires.

Sam Yeboah

Samuel Kofi Yeboah

Fans call him “Abuakwa Jet”. He prefers to be known as “Samzee”. He is Samuel Kofi Yeboah the slippery forward player who scores beautifully with either foot. He has abundant speed and if he can perfect his headings he will really be a great goal merchant.

Born at Tafo on Feb 14, 1960 to Mr Frank Afranie and Mary Serwaah, Yeboah started serious soccer

with Susu Biribi in 1980 before joining Hearts in 1983.

A motor mechanic by profession, Yeboah’s favourite newspaper is The Mirror. Owusu Mensah is his local idol. The footballer he admires abroad is Junior of Brazil and his favourite team abroad Santos also of Brazil. Locally, Susu Biribi is the other team he admires besides Hearts.

Table tennis and volleyball are his hobbies. He does not fancy hockey, swimming or cricket. His favourite dish is Fufu with occasional Guinness #Stout. Professor Aggrey Fynn has been Yeboah’s football hero since childhood and one person he would like to meet in the world is Pele of Brazil.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.