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Soccer News of Tuesday, 5 February 2002

Source: This Day (Lagos)

Crisis Rocks Black Stars, Coach Resigns -Nigerian paper

It is crisis galore in Black Stars'camp after crashing out of the Mali 2002 Nations Cup on Sunday with the team's Coach Fred Osam Duodu declaring his intention to quit amidst allegation that Abedi Pele Ayew's overbearing influence ruined the team. Duodu who said he is an employee of Ghana Football Association (GFA) as a Technical Director, revealed that he was returning to that capacity and paving way for a new substantive Coach who will re-groom the Black Stars.

The Coach said he was only called upon to fill the void left behind by the former Italian Coach Guisseppe Dossena who was sacked for failing to go beyond the quarter-final at the last edition of the Nations Cup.

"I will not be the man to handle the team again. I am the Technical Director of the FA and because there was no Coach, I just filled in. It is, however, left for the FA to decide if I will continue to handle them till such a time when a new Coach will come in," he said.

Duodu said the GFA Chairman, Benjamin Koffi had already assured him that the predominantly young players in the Black Stars will not be disbanded but kept intact for 2006 World Cup qualifiers.

In line with this, he said, the team will play series of friendly matches with teams that qualified for this year's World Cup in Korea/Japan with the infusion of more experienced players.

He gave kudos to his boys and said they did well by reaching the quarter-final stage as their target was not to win this tournament but to mould a team that will take Ghana to 2006 World Cup.

Duodu will not entertain any suggestion that expulsion of his stout defender, Sam Ossei Kuffour contributed to the exit of Ghana in the competition.

"I didn't miss him. My defenders were first class,' was his sharp reply to such insinuation.

Meanwhile, the team's former skipper and a member of GFA board, Abedi Pele Ayew is being held responsible for the exclusion of Ghana's most experienced players in the squad.

Several Ghanaians here say Abedi was so obsessed with the idea of building a team for the future that he influenced the Coach to shut out most Europe-based and more experienced players in the tournament. "It is never true. It is never true," the Coach denied.(ACONS)