Under-fire Hearts of Oak coach Mohammed Polo has launched a scathing attack at his critics and insisted ‘God will punish’ anybody who will sabotage him at the club.
A cross-section of players at the declared their support for former trainer David Duncan and credited the out-spoken former Ghana U17 coach for their revival.
And there are concerns a section of players want to see Polo fail at the club as they will not give in their best in games.
Despite admitting the impact of the absence of eight regular players in the humiliating record 3-0 defeat against Wa All Stars, Polo has ‘cursed’ his saboteurs.
“We have eight players missing with injury so there was nothing I could do.
But why will someone want to sabotage me? God will punish anyone who tries to sabotage me,” he told Accra-based Oman FM.
The former Ghana international is already receiving bashing from fans who feel he cannot handle the club after just three games in charge.
Since taking charge, he has won a game (Dwarfs), drew a game (Aduana Stars) and lost one (Wa All Stars).
The Asante Kotoko board has extended the mandate of Chief Executive Opoku Nti until further notice.
The ex-international was named acting CEO by the club’s owner Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in June after dissolving the board.
Nti has spearheaded the club to the summit of the Ghana Premier League table for the first round of the season.
He had a glittering football career and was a member of the Asante Kotoko Africa Cup winning squad in 1983.
Nti scored the winning goal that clinched the trophy for Kotoko against Al-Ahly in Kumasi.
Defender Philip Boampong has pledged to perform better than ever before on his return to Hearts of Oak.
The 23-year-old has rejoined the Phobians for the second half of the season haven ditched the side in 2012 for an adventure abroad.
The central defender who failed to sign an extension during his time with Hearts has nevertheless been re-admitted into the Phobian fold and will be ready to play once his registration is confirmed by the Ghana FA.
Boampong now wants to re-earn the trust and affection of the club fans by putting in his utmost best to help the side in their stuttering domestic campaign.
“I am grateful to Hearts for accepting me back,” he told Metro FM.
“I aim to play better than I was before because playing for clubs like Hearts and Kotoko is not easy.
“I have seen several players leave such clubs and never permitted to return.
“But I am very lucky to get this second opportunity and I am determined not to let them down.”
Hearts have dropped to third in the Ghanaian top flight and are now seven points behind leaders and rivals Asante Kotoko at the end of the first half of the season.
Asante Kotoko coach Mas-Ud Dramani concedes the second half of the season is going to be much tougher than the first with the side set to begin their CAF Champions League campaign.
The Porcupine Warriors finished the first half of the season in impressive fashion – leading the domestic top flight by seven points.
Kotoko will however begin challenging on two other fronts – the FA Cup and the CAF Champions League by the time the second half of the season kicks off sometime next year.
And coach Dramani believes his team has got its work cut out as they look to be successful on all fronts.
“It is not going to be easy at all,” he said.
“We will be competing in the Champions League, the (domestic) league and the FA Cup.
“And we want to do well on all fronts and therefore we need the support of everyone to ensure we emerge successful.”
Kotoko will begin their CAF Champions League campaign next February against Liberian champions Barrack Young Controllers.
By Akyereko Frimpong Manson
Follow on Twitter: @Akyereko
Ghana youth striker Richmond Boakye-Yiadom had his Copa Del Rey ambitions crashed on Tuesday night after his Elche FC side were kicked out of the competition by Villarreal.
Elche have exited the competition after losing 3-2 on aggregate to Villarreal.
The 20-year-old Juventus came off the bench to play the last 13 minutes for the Green and Whites as they suffered a 1-0 home loss to the Yellow Submarines.
Boakye had scored in the first-leg tie for Elche as they drew 2-2 last month.
But he had to start from the bench in the second leg game as he was brought on as a 77th minute substitute.
Elche needed two goals to stand any chance of progress but Boakye could not get on the score-sheet.
Ghana have been handed a tough draw for the 2014 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals Costa Rica.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says that they will not be signing Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder Lyle Lakay.
By Ameenu Shardow, follow on Twitter @alooameenu
Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah insists there is currently no budget for Ghana’s participation at the 2014 World Cup days after his deputy told a Parliamentary Committee GHS24m (over $10m) is the estimated cost.
There have been several quoted figures in various reports about the total cost of Ghana’s campaign at next year’s event in Brazil.
The Ghana FA is to assist the Sports Ministry in generating and defending a comprehensive budget that caters for the Black Stars and their preparations towards the tournament.
The comprehensive budget will also include the cost involved in supporting several Ghanaian fans to offer support to the team in Brazil.
Other planned events by the Sports Ministry and other agencies towards mounting exhibitions and investment forums while in Brazil is also expected to be included in the comprehensive budget.
Deputy Sports Minister Joseph Yamin is alleged to have told Ghana’s Parliament that Ghana’s third successive campaign at the World Cup will cost the state GHS 24m (over $10m).
“The Deputy Sports Minister came to Parliament when I posed a question about how much it will cost Ghana for the World Cup and told us the budget is GHS24m,” Minority Ranking Member on Sports Hon. Isaac Asiamah told Joy News.
But Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah rebuts by insisting any figure being bundled out is mere speculation.
“I can tell you that officially the Ministry has not revealed any budget for the World Cup,” he told Parliament on Tuesday.
“Therefore any figures being bundled around are just speculations.”
There now appears to be some confusion over Ghana’s estimated expenditure for the World Cup with the contrasting reports from the Sports Ministry to Parliament.
It is however clear that the state will definitely be spending more than it did for the last World Cup due to the expensive travel cost to South Africa and other planned innovations geared towards promoting Ghana at the 2014 World Cup.
Ghana is making its third consecutive appearance at the World Cup where the Black Stars is drawn in Group G alongside Germany, Portugal and USA.
Kotoko coach Mas-Ud Dramani says his side should be wiser for next year’s CAF Champions League qualifiers.
The Porcupine Warriors will host the Liberian side Barrack Young Controllers for the first leg on the weekend of 7-9 February.
The Ghanaian champions were eliminated from the penultimate qualifying round by Algerian side JSM Bejaia in this year’s competition.
Dramani, who was in-charge of that squad, expects the experience garnered by his unchanged squad to reach the Group stage.
“The experience is that you need to try and score more goals playing at home and also avoid goals being scored against you in away games and for us we play very well whether home or away,” Dramani told Joy FM.
“Not judging from the current form of the team in the league, the champions league is a different terrain where you are meeting another champions from a different country and so the preparation is different.
“We need to put our team in a different perspective regarding the approach of the champions league.”
Kotoko are leaders on the Ghana Premier League table with a seven point advantage after the first half of the season.
Berekum Chelsea will not underrate relatively unknown Atlabara FC of South Sudan in the CAF Champions League.
The former Ghanaian champions are making a return to the continent’s flagship inter-clubs competition.
Not a lot is known about their opponents but the Berekum-based are refusing to write off Atlabara.
”Football is a competition and you play whether you know your opponent or not but here is the case we have been paired against a team in Southern Sudan who we don’t have much information about,” Berekum Chelsea General Manager Oduro Sarfo said.
”We are still searching for information about the club and will start our preparations from now.
”Now that we know we are playing at home, our preparations will begin as soon as possible, we have done it before in this competition and I know we will do it again.”
If Berekum Chelsea advance, they will meet either Libyan side Ahly Benghazi or Foulla Edifice from Chad.
Medeama believe they have been handed a tough draw in the CAF Confederation Cup qualifier after being paired with FC Panther’s of Equatorial Guinea.
The Tarkwa based side will be making their first appearance in a CAF inter-club competition.
Medeama, who won the MTN Ghana FA Cup last season after beating Kotoko in the final, say their opponents are
“FC Panther’s of Equatorial Guinea is a very tough team judging from their past experience, they won FA Cup in 2012 and won it this year too,” the club’s Chief Executive James Essilfie said.
“We are going to prepare massively to face them and I believe by the time we will meet them we will be ready to edge them out.
“We know what is ahead of us and what it takes to play in Africa, even though things are not going well in the league for us we are not going to disgrace ourselves but rather make Ghana proud.”
The Black Maidens have been handed a tough draw for the 2014 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals Costa Rica after being placed in Group B alongside Korea DPR, Germany and Canada.
Ghana defeated Germany to win bronze at the last tournament in Azerbaijan 2012 but lost 2-1 to the Germans in their Group D opener.
Germany won the UEFA European Women’s U-17 Championship after defeating Spain on penalties.
Korea DPR, maiden winners of the tournament in New Zealand 2008, were denied a second silverware after losing 7-6 on penalties to France at the 2012 finals.
Canada were beaten in the final of the CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship on penalties by Mexico but advanced as of the two qualifiers from the region.
The 2014 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be played from 15 March- 04 April.
Group A – Costa Rica, Venezuela, Italy, Zambia
Group B – Ghana, Korea DPR, Germany, Canada
Group C – New Zealand, Paraguay, Spain, Japan
Group D – Mexico, Colombia, China PR, Nigeria