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Sports News of Monday, 3 August 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

ET Mensah influenced selections at 1996 AFCON – Prince Polley

Former Black Stars striker Prince Polley has said that the practise of politicians influencing coaches selection has been with the team since time immemorial.

There have been speculations that Black Stars coaches hardly enjoy independence when it comes to selections as politicians and GFA officials influence those decisions.

Speaking to Graphic Sports, Polley narrated how he threatened to storm out of the team’s camp in the 1996 AFCON after he was left out of the squad by coach Jim Amoah.

Polley who said he was in great form ahead of the tournament was furious after being left out of the first game against Guinea.

Puzzled by the coach’s decision, Polley sought clarification and it was revealed to him that then Sports Minister ET Mensah asked for him to be benched.

According to him, his teammates were also taken aback by the coach, Jim Amoah’s ‘strange’ decision to bench him.

“All the top players were agitated when the coach dropped me during the opening match against Guinea but I kept my cool and went into my hotel room which I shared with Tony Yeboah,” he revealed.

“It was at this time that Coach Amoah came in with a Bible in hand to apologise for dropping me from the first team, before confessing that the selection of players for the match was influenced by the Sports Minister, E.T. Mensah,” he recalled.

“I am sorry that it happened this way. This was not the team I intended to use for our first match. It was this afternoon that the team I intended to use for the opening match was changed.

"It was E.T. Mensah and other officials from the Sports Ministry who influenced me to come out with this team, so I am appealing to you to look at this Bible and be calm as you sit on the bench because I will by all means make changes and bring you into the match,” Polley quoted Coach Amoah to have said during the interview.

“It was at that stage that I told the coach that If the Sports Minister can use a few minutes to influence him in his team selection in a tournament as important as this, then I am vacating camp to return to Holland because my team need my services so much.

“I, therefore, asked him to release my passport to me to return to Holland the following day,” he added.

“Influencing the selection of players for tournaments was persistent in the Black Stars during our time. It was about leadership. If the one leading the team was considered powerful, he easily influenced coaches in the selection of players for some particular matches,” he disclosed further.

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