By Patrick Akoto
Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko have been rocked by a damaging bribery scandal following their shock elimination from the CAF Champions League.
The Porcupine Warriors were dealt the sucker-punch by Liberian side Barrack Young Controllers, who secured an important 1-0 victory to advance on the away-goals rule.
However the clubâ€™s elimination has been rocked by allegations of bribery against some members of the squad, hours after reality dawned on the Kumasi-based side.
Their long-standing Burkinabe goalkeeper Soulama Abdoulaye has been accused of taking a bribe to throw the match away with the blame game swinging from one end to the other.
Soulama is alleged to have met officials of the Liberian side at dawn where a deal was struck for him to aid their progression into the next stage with a figured believed to be in the region of $3000 being quoted.
Officials are however yet to make a public statement on the speculation gaining currency in the West African country.
Kotokoâ€™s elimination from Africaâ€™s flagship inter-club competition is only a tip of a rather gloomy situation confronting the former African champions, Ghanaâ€™s leading football outlet can reveal.
GHANAsoccernet.com revealed last week that key players had initiated moves to boycott their trip to Monrovia due to unpaid salaries and wages running into several months â€“ a revelation which was strenuously denied by the top officials.
The Confidence in the squad has reduced significantly which has led to growing disquiet among the players, despite claims of multiple sponsorship at the club.
The revelation has been a huge blot on the current board and management team, who were appointed last year to source for funds to run the affairs of the club but are perceived to have failed woefully.
Former Executive Chairman Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong helped to re-brand the two-time African champions by securing multiple sponsorship deals locally â€“ a feat which has been unmatched by the current leadership.
Their exit from the CAF Champions League has sparked massive confusion at the top which could prove disastrous in their Ghana Premier League title defense.