6 July 2007

Ghana: Good Judgement

THE GHANA Football Association's (GFA) Emergency Committee hit the nail on the head when they asked Black Meteors' goalkeeper's trainer, Abukari Damba to step aside from the team for his alleged role in fixing the Ghana-Iran friendly match.

Unlike other bribery allegation cases where clear evidence of exchange of monies are non existent, there was a clear case of 'negotiations' among Damba and the seven players linked with the bribery scandal, with the main actor being Jonathan Clottey, who has consequently been booted from the team.

Damba, a former Black Stars, RTU and Great Olympics goalkeeper has been sacked as the Olympic's team goalkeeper's trainer following a bribery scandal leading some Iranian persons to lure some seven members of the team with a meager $1,000 each.

The former Starlets goalkeepers' trainer's action is tantamount to high treason taking into account the nation's pride and the Committee's decision to refer him to the Disciplinary Committee for further investigations was appropriate.

At least, it will serve as a deterrent to prospective culprits in both national teams and local alike. Damba gambled with the entire nation's heart losing sight of the fact that the 2-4 defeat subjected many soccer pundits to intense emotional trauma.

Testimonies from some of his accomplices, Tuaha Khamix, Emmanuel Allan, Clottey, among others, went a long way to buttress the alleged bribery case.

One of the witnesses revealed that Damba demanded $500 each from the seven accomplices as his share, a request the players failed to consent which later let the cat out from the sack.

Although the team did not parade its full compliments, it could have avoided the humiliating results considering the fact that it was the same side Abedi Pele's Nania FC eliminated at the semi final stage via a penalty shootout in their India Showpiece recently.

At the hearing before the Committee last Tuesday, Damba's plea for clemency fell on deaf ears as the Committee realized that the culprit's intent was far from ignorance as he claimed regarding the 'deal'.

For Clottey, Ashgold's central defender, his sack from the team is enough warning to other up and coming players who may compromise integrity in future assignments.

No doubt, he is one of the best stalwart young defenders in the country but his actions, as the 'key negotiator' of the bribery scandal will go a long way to muddy his promising football career.

The team is expected to leave the country for the forthcoming All African games slated for Algeria today under Coach Cecil Jones Attuquayefio.

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