Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako - The Writer

There is no doubt that the national football league has been the nation’s favourite pastime over the years. But let’s face it the glitter is fading fast. And this is where I find the immortal words of legendary musicologist Ephraim Amu in his “Yen ara asase ni” composition very appropriate. The legend says in Twi the national problem is “nnimdee ntraso ne pese menko menya” (loosely translated as all-knowing and selfishness). This is exactly the problem with Ghana football being run by people who think they know too much to take any advice outside their circle of fellow know all experts in football administration.

Some of us are old enough to have seen the genesis of Ghana’s progressive football development since Independence to a point where the Black Stars neatly qualified for four back to back Afcon Cup finals in 1963, 1965, 1968, and 1970 winning the first two. The first was against Sudan in Accra; 1965 against Tunisia in Tunisia,1968 against Congo in Ethiopia and the 1970 against Sudan in Khartoum. Even though it took the Stars eight more years to reach another Afcon cup final they hit a record hat-trick in 1978 in Accra that won Ghana the original African Unity cup for keeps.

The fire was still burning after this feat and four years later in Libya 1982, a renascent Black Stars became the second winners of the new cup after Nigeria 1980 by beating host nation Libya in Tripoli. End of story.

After more than four decades the Black Stars have been struggling in vain to shine again in Africa. What can the matter be? Please ask the all-knowing football people for the answer. Some of us have witnessed the best of Ghana football in the past both local and international level, especially from crowd pulling Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts Oak.

These two dominant clubs have produced a lot of talented players who also donned the national colours. I think those still around should be celebrated.

It would be a good idea to revisit the past to see whether we can resurrect some of the productive measures that made the league so attractive to fill the stands.

Those were real interesting days to watch top class club football, especially in Kumasi and Accra.

On that note let me continue with my profile of Asante Kotoko 1982 Africa squad and Accra Hearts of Oak 1985 Africa Cup squad.

Third batch of the Kotoko 1982 squad from the archives:

Seth Ampadu

Seth Ampadu (Nana)

Seth Ampadu can easily claim to be the tallest defence player in the local soccer scene. This well-built Obo Kwahu born is noted for his close markings and his sporadic shots from behind when the going gets tough upfront.

Ampadu started big time soccer in 1975 with Accra Hearts of Oak before joining Kotoko in 1978 and he is a real tower of strength at the rear-guard.

Ampadu who would like to play professional soccer, has two children Richard and Jennifer.

Gladys Nuako is the lovely wife.

Born on 9th Sept 1954 to Opanin W.A. Ampadu, a farmer and Madam Comfort Nyarko, a trader.

Ampadu’s favourite player is Opoku Afriyie. “He is an inspiring captain”, he says.

English star Kevin Keegan is Ampadu’s idol abroad and table tennis is his hobby.

Kotoko’s resounding 6-0 victory over Kampala City Council remains supreme in Ampadu’s mind and the 3-1 defeat by Eleven Wise in Sekondi is an event he would like to forget fast.

Ahmed Rockson

Ahmed Rockson

(Gentle Alhaji)

Born 25 years ago to Mr J.K. Rockson, a businessman and Madam Akweley Sabey, a trader. Ahmed hails from Apam in the Central Region. He came into the limelight with Dumas Boys of Tema GTP for whom he first started playing in 1976 Regarded as the pet player of coach Adabie, the cool but confident central defender moved to Kotoko when the coach joined the Porcupine Warriors in 1979 and except for a short spell had been the clubs first choice for the number five jersey.

Married to Nafiasatu Kowey Quaye, Rockson has two children Ishmael and Abdullah.

A keen film goer Rockson plans to play professional soccer in future. His favourite player in Ghana is team mate Haruna Yusif whiles England’s Kevin Keegan is his hero abroad.

Rockson’s happiest moment in soccer was when Kotoko whipped Hearts of Oak 3-0 in Accra. He has so far no sad memories but this would be when Kotoko fail to win the Africa Cup this year.

Hearts Africa Squad 1985

Edward Kodjo Acquah (Santrofie)

Edward Kodjo Acquah (SWAG most promising footballer)

This 18-year-old shy looking forward player is at home with all positions upfront.

“Santrofie” as he is affectionately called, shoots perfectly well with either foot and his passes are tailor measured. Already soccer pundits say he is the legendary Baba Yara in the making. And others say he is the future Osei Kofi and Abdul Razak combined.

There is no doubt that if Santrofie is not carried away by the flame of publicity, he will be a great footballer.

Born in Accra on 15th June 1966 to Mr Robert Kobina Acquah a businessman and Alberta Amarteifio Amarquaye, the youngster started colts football with Kaiser Babies then Rolands (Hearts nursery team) before graduating to the first division this year.

His favourite player in Ghana is Mohammed Polo and Zico of Brazil is his idol abroad.

Azumah Nelson is one other sports personality Santrofie admires.

Eleven Wise is his other favourite team and Santos of Brazil is his idol team abroad.

Young Acquah’s most memorable match so far was the Hearts-Olympics-SWAG Cup match last December.

George Lamptey

George Nii Odartey Lamptey

This stylish easy going international midfielder reminds one of the heydays of Joe Ghartey. A good dribbler and ball distributor in his own right. George is one player who believes that the best approach to the game is the Brazilian way. “Let the ball do the running and be flexible as much as possible”.

George was born at Tema on 7th Sept 1960 to Michael Joe- Lamptey Aryee a mechanic and Marian Aku Coffie a petty trader.

After playing colts in school, George came into the limelight in 1983 when he featured for Great Olympics after a brief sojourn in Nigeria. But it was when he donned the Rainbow jersey that his real talents as a great midfielder were unearthed and since then he has been a useful member of both the national team and his club.

Joe Amoateng is his favourite player in Ghana and Platini of France is his idol abroad.

Tottenham Hotspurs is the team he likes abroad and Great Olympics his other favourite local team.

The Merdeka Stadium in Malaysia is the best stadium George has played on.

Fried rice and shrimps is his favourite dish. His football hero of childhood was Sunday Ibrahim.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro is one person in the world George would like to meet.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.

SOURCEBy Ken Bediako
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