Business man and former Board member of Kumasi Asante Kotoko Kennedy âCappuccino Agyepong has flown into the country, ex-Porcupine Warriors star Joe Debrah for the Hearts/Kotoko Oldies clash at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.
In an interview with DAILY GUIDE SPORTS from his base in Germany, Joe Debra praised Kennedy Agyepong, CEO of Kenpong Group of Companies, for the efforts the latter made in bringing him down for the âbig gameâ.
âKenpong is the one bringing me down to Ghana for the match. He is paying for my ticket and everything. Besides that he has done a lot for me and I will continue to pray for him.
âI know the fans have missed me all this time. Even though I might not perform like I used to, I will do my best to make them happy on Sunday,â Joe Debra added.
Retired footballers of the two glamorous clubs in the country will cross swords in KumasiÂ this Sunday.
Dubbed âHistoric Clashâ, the contest is being organized by Anim Addo, a producer at Peace FM, an Accra-based radio station.
The match is intended to rekindle the healthy rivalry existing between the two sides.
Former Kotoko stars Joe Debrah, Frimpong Manso, Opoku Afriyie, Prince Adu Poku, Isaac Kwakye and Prince Opoku Polley are expected to feature in the game.
Black Stars ex skipper Stephen Appiah will lead the Phobians, who are expected to parade players like Abladey Kumah, Ishmael Addo and Emmanuel Armah âSenegalâ.
At a press conference in Kumasi, Mr Anim Addo indicated that the game would be played in a two-legged format, with Kumasi hosting the first leg and Accra the return leg.
Mr Addo stated that part of the gate proceeds would be donated to the Kumasi Childrenâs Home, with the remainder going to the combatants as appearance fees.
He urged football fans to throng the stadium to support a worthy cause.
Mr. Addo is being partnered by the Despite Group of Companies to organize the historic event.
Saka Quaye, the Ashanti Regional Sports Development Officer, urged the organizers to go a step further by organizing matches between old players of the various national teams in the West Africa sub-region.
Â FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi
Speculation has intensified in recent weeks over where the Santos star will be plying his trade next season, with Barcelona currently attempting to negotiate a dealÂ despite the player’s insistence he will remain in Brazil until 2014.
However, should such a move materialise, Messi feels the starlet would add a different dimension to Barca’s attacking threat.
“I do not know if he will end up at the club or not. However, it is true that he is a player who would bring a very different dimension to the team,” he toldÂ Qatar Alkass. “Of course he would be a wonderful addition.”
The Argentina international then looked ahead to next year’s World Cup in Brazil and insists he wants to taste glory at the tournament irrespective of what it could mean for his reputation in the history of the game.
“All I care about is winning the World Cup,” he said. “I won’t be thinking about whether it will mean I am the best player ever or not.”
The 25-year-old also praised former coaches Frank Rijkaard and Bayern Munich-bound Pep Guardiola, a man who Messi believes will be a huge hit at Bayern and wherever he chooses to go in future.
“He [Rijkaard] was the one who believed in me when I was 17,” the Argentina skipper added. “It was one of the most important times of my life working under him, and Pep told me I was the best player he has ever coached.
“He will succeed at Bayern. He will succeed anywhere he goes because his understanding and reading of the game is like nobody else’s.”
Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien has jumped to the defence of departing Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, insisting he is not what many people think he is.
The iconic Portuguese coach though loved by many is also widely loathed.
His critics believe he comes across as an arrogant person with his no-nonsense, tough-talking style.
Mourinho is one manager who wouldnât mind offering a âstupidâ answer when âstupidâ questions are thrown at him during press conferences.
His immense passion for the sport, obvious through his sometimes very frantic antics and celebrations on the touchlines, is sometimes interpreted as disrespectful to opposing teams.
This plus widespread rumours he is a destructive character in the dressing room does not endear him to many neutrals though he is widely loved.
Essien, who is likely to reunite with Mourinho at Chelsea next season, as being aggressively speculated, however says many have the wrong perception of the iconic manager whose true colours are only revealed once you get close enough.
âHe is a lovely man,â the Ghana international said in excerpts of a promotional video for his upcoming charity event in Ghana.
âWhen you work with him and get close to him you will understand the sort of person he is.
“He is very passionate about the game, he gives everything and he is very friendly, a very funny man.
âItâs funny how some people see him, like when he is giving interviews and stuff but he is totally like a lovely man.â
Mourinho is expected to make his third visit to Ghana this June on the invitation of Michael Essien to grace the latterâs charity event.
Latex Foam has signed a sponsorship deal, subject to annual renewal for five years, with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) at its head office in Accra.
The package, $100,000 per year for five years, was intended to cushion the senior national male soccer team, the Black Stars, and the FA in its operations.
Rolling out at its Switch Back Road office yesterday, Jamil Mouganie, Deputy General Manager of Latex Foam said it was an honour and a privilege to support the team.
âIn our business, we believe for every individual to give his best shot by way of productivity, the mind and the body will require good rest. We at Latex Foam believe if you sleep well, you dream well, hence this support.
âWe want to make sure that our players and the technical team sleep well, so they can dream well, and realize their dream of making their third successive World Cup appearance and winning many more trophies for the country.
âWe consider this package a dream one simply because we believe it will cushion them to realize their dreams. Anytime they represent us, they do it (dream), and winning the World Cup has been a dream, but we hope this support will them realize that dream,â Mouganie said.
He pledged his outfitâs continued support as the years roll by.
GFA chief Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi indicated that the financial boost will go a long way to support the FA in the smooth running of its day-to-day activities.
According to him, the package had come at an opportune time as the team prepare in their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers and ultimately make it to Brazil 2014.
âThis package will certainly go a long way to alleviate our financial burden. We need such support to take care of our administrative expenses. Government alone canât support us all the time. I want to assure you that you wouldnât regret associating with us,â said Mr Nyantakyi.
He appealed to West Africaâs biggest foam manufacturers to consider throwing their weight behind the various Supporters Unions by way of sponsorship in future.
Public Relations Officer of Latex Foam Gifty Asare Ekeocha, revealed that the team will benefit from their products by way of rewards.
By Kofi Owusu Aduonum
The Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) will, in collaboration with communication giants MTN-Ghana, organize the 38thÂ edition of the SWAG Awards on Saturday June 29 at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Accra.
The event is expected to confer honours on 20 sports men and women drawn from 15 sporting disciplines and five institutions for their contribution to the development of sports in the country.
Winners will receive trophies, medals, certificates, products from corporate sponsors among other attractive prizes on the night as prizes for their efforts.
A statement from the secretariat of the Association said this yearâs event will as usual attract a number of international sports personalities and other high profile individuals in the country.
It added that the public will also have the opportunity to participate in the selection of winners for the Sports Personality of the Year and Footballer of the Year awards, through text messages and online voting.
The event will see Kwadwo Asamoah, Emmanuel Clottey and Dede Ayew vying for the Footballer of the Year award, with Patricia Okyere going for the Female Footballer of the Year, whilst Massud Didi Dramani will be decorated with the Coach of the Year award.
Moses Odjeir of premier league side Tema Youth will go home with the Promising Star of the Year award, as John Ampomah and Janet Amponsah will go home with male and female athletes of the year awards respectively, with Derek Abrefa and Cynthia Kwabi as Male and Female Table Tennis Players of the year.
In other categories, the Golfer of the Year awards will go to Emos Korblah (Male) and Beatrice Vetch-Bempong (Female), with Elikem Akaba (Male) and Juanita Korwu (Female) as Hockey Players of the Year, whilst Janet Ampomah will be awarded as the Weightlifter of the year, with swimming prodigy Abeiku Johnson as the Discovery of the Year.
Berekum Chelsea, 2012 Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) campaigners, will be the Club of the Year, with the Black Maidens as the National Team of the Year.
Owner and bankroller of Berekum Chelsea, Ghanaâs Para-cyclist Alem Mumuni, Tesano Dolphins and late President John E. Mills, late vice president Alhaji Aliu Mahama will be part of the award winners in the Special Meritorious awards category.
Premier League Board (PLB) chief Welbeck Yaw Abra-Appiah has apologized for the temporary break of the Glo Premier League.
The three-nation AU sanctioned tourney scheduled for Liberia from May 24 to 26 forced the PLB to push the Week 27 games forward.
However, the Liberian FA wrote to their Ghanaian counterparts at the eleventh hour to cancel the competition involving Liberia, Guinea and Ghana.
Consequently, the PLB has directed that the Week 27 games be played next Wednesday May 29 at all centres.
âWe are very sorry, this is not our doing. The tourney is an AU sanctioned tournament which informed our calendar for the year. Nobody should subject the board to insults, it was not our fault,â the PLB boss said on Happy FM.
The local components of the Black Stars were due to fly out of the country last Tuesday for the competition but their host cancelled the tournament due to reasons beyond their control.
It has however emerged that the competition has been rescheduled to June 28 to 30 at the same venue.
By Kofi Owusu Aduonum
Ghana goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey has been ruled out of next month’s double-header 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, according to reports.
The Ghana News Agency (GNA) reported that the Stromsgodset goalkeeper is set to undergo surgery on a recurring injury next week.
Hence, the 25-year-old will miss the trips to Sudan and Lesotho where Ghana need wins to keep snapping at the heels of Group D leaders Zambia.
But Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah, who is yet to release his squad for the assignments, has not commented on Kwarasey’s unavailability.
The Norway-born gloves man lost his position as Ghanaâs first choice in the build-up to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
His application for a nationality switch was ratified by FIFA in 2011 and made his debut in a 2012 Nations Cup qualifier against Swaziland at home on 2 September.
Kwarasey has since gone on to make 18 appearances for the Black Stars.
As the semi-final stage of the nationâs favourite TV game show, the Guinness Football Challenge draws near, celebrity fans including the Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan and president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kwesi Nyantakyi, are sending their messages of support to the Ghanaian contestants as the latter âplay for their countryâ in this yearâs Pan-African edition.
This seasonâs football loving pairs have gone head-to-head with their fellow countrymen to show they are the best from Ghana, and now will be flying the flag of their country as they battle it out against competitors from Cameroun, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in the Pan African competition.
Asamoah Gyan, Black Stars captain, gave the teams his support saying, âItâs great to see Ghanaians showing their love for the national game.Â The nation, and of course, Guinness, all got behind us and showed their support earlier in the year at AFCON, and now itâs our turn to cheer the Guinness Football Challenge contestants on â we wish them the best of luck in the competition, do it for Ghana!â
Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi sent the following message: âThe Guinness Football Challenge really demonstrates the Ghanaian spirit of doing what it takes to realise your dreams.Â The teams have shown that they are the best talent in Ghana when it comes to football game shows and I am confident that they are certainly going to do our country proud. I encourage them to go on and show the rest of Africa how much Ghana loves football!â
And of course, Guinness Football Challenge presenters, Nathaniel Attoh and Naa Adjeley Doku, will be backing them all the way.
Nathaniel Attoh says: âGo guys and let the pride, red, gold and green flag bring out the greatness in you in these final stages. Ghana is a great football nation and I know you will demonstrate that. You can make it!â
Co-host Naa also sent the teams her best wishes: âSeason 3 of the Guinness Football Challenge is thrilling and exciting. Congratulations to all the guys who won the preliminary rounds and all the best in the Pan African round. It wonât be easy but I know they can make it big. Ghana all the way.â
You can show them that you are backing them all the way by sending your message of support to the teams at www.facebook.com/Guinness.Gh or on Guinness’s mobile social community for football lovers, Guinness VIP. Sign up for free at m.guinnessvip.com.
The Guinness Football Challenge will be shown on Viasat 1 at 9pm every Thursday; Metro TV and TV Africa at 6pm on Saturdays and Multi TV at 7 pm on Sundays.
KUMASI ASANTE Kotoko midfielder Issah Yakubu is in Belgium for a 13-day trials.
The Porcupine Warriorsâ midfielder reportedly left the shores of the country recently for Belgium.
Sources that divulged the information to the paper could not state the club which invited him for the trials, but stated that Yakubu would be given a fresh deal if he impresses.
FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi
Courier giant DHL has thrown its weight behind Division Two side Royal Faith FC following the teamâs exploits in the league.
At a short but impressive presentation ceremony, DHL presented 50 DHL-branded caps and 50 bags as well as a special cash prize to the team.
Officials of the donor company explained that besides the teamâs prospects in the league, they considered it as their way of giving back to society.
Club chairman Felix Fiatusey and his deputy Patrick Amazing Doamekpor in separate words thanked the donors sincerely for the support.
Meanwhile, Royal Faith has recorded a 2-0 win over Future Stars to consolidate their lead on the table.
Â By Kofi Owusu Aduonum