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Soccer News of Wednesday, 3 March 2004

Source: GNA

Bad timing caused our inability to send a coach to Tunisia -Koufie

Accra, March 3, GNA - Outgoing Chairman of the Ghana Football Association, (GFA) Mr Ben Koufie said the inability of the FA to sponsor a local coach to monitor some of the countries Ghana will play in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers was not due to financial problems but due to a catalogue of other factors which included the appointment of the Black Stars coach, Marino Barreto.

He told the GNA Sports that the Cup of Nations coincided with the arrival of the Stars' new coach who needed to take off with his training regimen to prepare a team against Algeria in an Olympic qualifier, hence it would have been unwise on the part of the FA to send those he (Coach) was going to work with to Tunisia.

Koufie who turns 72 years in June this year, said although the association appreciates the importance of such an exercise, it was difficult to do so under the circumstance.

"I don't remember the last time the GFA sent a coach to watch the Cup Nations, but it's not an excuse for not sending one", Mr Koufie said.

Ghana is in the same group with South Africa, DR Congo, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Cape Verde for a slot to participate in the German 2006 World Cup.

Mr Koufie who leaves office by the end of the month said the employment of Barreto was a blessing to Ghana because he was a developer as far as football development was concerned and given the chance, he could contribute to the success of the five-year development plan of the GFA.

" It's a matter of the coach programming himself to use his free periods to assist in the programme which is aimed at laying a solid foundation for the future", he said.

Mr Koufie expressed satisfaction that the "Ghanaman Soccer School of Excellence" at Prampram was being completed before schedule and all things being equal would be commissioned in April, this year.

Commenting on the just ended Cup of Nations, the GFA boss said Ghana's absence is a motivating factor to "our players to strive to be there on the next edition".

He said the absence of the Black Stars was very much felt because people knew what the Stars could do in such competitions.

The GFA Chairman said for instance, the Tunisian fans were divided over the absence of the Stars. While some thought the presence of the Stars would have added to the beauty of the tournament, others were of the view that if the Black Stars had participated, they were likely to play the Tunisians in the opening match and since the North African country had never beaten Ghana it would have affected their progress.

He called for a second look at basic things, which excite players including winning bonuses to motivate them to give off their best. Asked whether he would miss the "hot seat" after leaving office, Mr Koufie said, No; citing some of the things that have worked against him including the inability to take decisions on his own and always had to seek prior approval from the executive council.