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Soccer News of Thursday, 21 February 2013

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Why I missed Barcelona 1992 - Joe Addo

Former Hearts of Oak and Black Stars defender Joseph Addo has revealed for the first time why he failed to make Ghana’s historic bronze-medal winning squad for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

He told that he was wrongly accused of attacking a referee during a league match against Dawu Youngsters in Koforidua, adding that the incident also cost him the captaincy of the Black Meteors at the time.

He explained that a previous incident against city rivals Great Olympics was what led to his suspension from local football for a year.

“We had a league game against Great Olympics and referee Albert Agbovi awarded a penalty against us which most of us Hearts of Oak players disagreed with. Fortunately the penalty was saved by our goalkeeper. I was still angry with the referee and so I strode up to him. The funny thing is that as soon as I got to him, out of fright he fell down. I was then accused of hitting him, but in truth I didn’t touch him.”

Addo then recounted events in Koforidua, explaining that a goal, that he described as wrongfully awarded against Hearts was what led to the ensuing melee.

“It was a rainy afternoon when we played Dawu Youngsters in Koforidua. In one situation, one of their strikers beat Salifu Ansah with a shot but the ball got stuck in a puddle of water right on the goal line. I got to the ball in time and I was playing the ball out when I saw that the referee had given a goal against us. Pandemonium broke out because supporters of Dawu Youngsters invaded the pitch, filled with joy because of the ‘goal’.”

Addo then explained the circumstances that got him into trouble, noting that he was punished for someone else’s actions.

“My team-mate, the late Salifu Ansah was angry at the decision of the referee and so he punched him in the face. The referee went down unconscious. I had just returned from the United States at the time and so I was well versed in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). So I went to the referee and used it, attempting to revive him. The referee woke up and saw me. When he was later asked what had happened, because I was the first person he saw after reviving, he told the authorities that I was the one that punched him.”

Addo noted that the evidence given by the referee resulted in a one-year ban from football by the Ghana Football Association, which cost him his place in the Barcelona squad.

“I was subsequently banned from playing football for a year and so I lost my place in the Barcelona squad. It hurt because I was not only a member, but the team captain too.”

The former defender, who later represented Ghana at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as an over aged player, says his younger brother and national goalkeeper Simon teases him to this day because of the bronze medal he missed out on.

“My younger brother Simon made the squad and to this day teases me about the fact that he got a bronze medal and I didn’t.”

Addo currently works as a well-known football pundit on Ghana Television and is the International Liaison officer for Premier League side Berekum Chelsea.