The President’s Cup Again!
Posted on: Fri Jun 29, 2012
Champions Asante Kotoko and CAF Champions League campaigners Berekum Chelsea will re-enact last year’s President’s Cup tango at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra on Sunday, Republic Day. It’s a big match by all standards and it promises to be one to remember unlike the stormy events of last year.
It is the hope and prayer of all that this time round tempers will not flare out of normal range to boiling point but rather everything will come to a successful end. Surely both clubs will be guided by the unfortunate events of last year, however one cannot be sure of what kind of officiating to expect knowing how some referees become possessed when officiating games involving Kotoko, but come what may, everything must come to a successful end.
Everybody knows that Kotoko is the club to provide the atmosphere, thrills and frills that befits a grand occasion like the President’s Cup on Republic Day and that is why the organizers will move mountains to get the Porcupines to rock the show. After putting in a lot of effort in organizing the big much, the organisers should endeavour to insure the match by appointing some of the more competent referees to handle the game so as to put both sets of teams, fans and everybody at ease.
Football fans should be spared the ordeal of watching match officials ruin what could have been a true class act like what transpired a year ago. Let there be fair game and whoever comes tops applauded. The final message to the organizers is that we all know it’s a big day for politicians and as such security is going to be very tight, however we plead that the security at the gates should go it easy on the press. Sometimes media practitioners are unnecessarily given very rough treatment at the gates which leaves much to be desired.
Photographers, reporters, commentators, editors, technicians etc., are all stakeholders in the game and must be treated with some respect. The Press Pass is sounding this note of caution because of what has been observed at the gates during such ceremonial games in the past and want it to be avoided now and in the future.
Now to the Porcupine Warriors who will be in thick of affairs, there is no margin for errors because Chelsea are a strong side no matter where they play and although Kotoko is the best, the Berekum lads will not miss any opportunity to pull a fast one on the red shirted boys from Oseikrom.
It is important that Kotoko play well and they must play very well and most importantly win the game. After-all eighty percent of football enthusiasts coming to the stadium are coming to support Kotoko and it won’t be nice to disappoint all these people who have had to stop going to the beach and other social events to come and see their favourite club in action, only to be disappointed and heartbroken. Nobody wants to be heartbroken on Republic Day.
It would have been a good opportunity to assess incoming coach Didi Mourinho if he was to be in charge of this game but all the same the bottom line is Kotoko must win at all cost irrespective of who is in charge. There is everything to play for including pride, trophy and cash prize and so Kotoko cannot afford to falter at all. No one should underestimate the threat that Chelsea under the tutelage of Coach Hans Van Der Pluym will pose to Kotoko. They will as usual be very strong and so Kotoko must not take chances at all.
We have to unleash the strongest possible squad on Chelsea to exorcise the 2011 ghost once and for all and so put the Berekum lads in their proper place.
The never ending problem of age-cheating has been in the news since last week when more than half of the players forming the current Black Starlets team failed the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test and there has been confessions and all sorts of recommendations to kill the canker because people now feel that it is not helpful and defeats the whole purpose of organizing age competitions.
I know it is near impossible to completely stop age cheating in football at the moment because the root cause of the problem is about opportunity to use the age competition to change one’s economic status. The belief is that playing for the Black Starlets or Satellites at the world cup level is the shortest route to a foreign contract in Europe, Asia or the Middle East which can lead to a drastic change in one’s living condition.
In addition, these days one stands a better chance of being invited to the Black Stars if one is playing abroad than someone playing his football here in the motherland. Simply put, the enticement is too great to refuse so football administrators and those of us in the media can cry but the principal characters and beneficiaries who stand to gain big time like the players, parents and family, managers and agents don’t care about the future of the Black Stars or Ghana football, they care more about the big amount of dollars to be made today. The sad aspect of it all is that the perpetrators are the people who can tell the real ages of the players and they are never ready to come clean.
Perhaps until the country develops to a level where every single birth in any corner of the country is captured in a database that is full proof like in the advanced countries, we should expect that the cheating will continue and more players are going to be caught by the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Simply put, there is no end in sight and it will definitely take a long time to get there.
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