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Soccer News Mon, 31 May 2004

Oti Akenten hits back at critics

Accra, May 31, GNA - Coach Francis Oti Akenten of the Black Satellites has hit back at his critics describing their calls to justify his mode of player selection into the national team as baseless and unfortunate.

Coach Akenten said this to the GNA Sports when his reaction was sought to a week's ultimatum issued by Mr Joseph Yaw Appiah, Chairman of the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) to rationalize his selection.

The coach who described the call as unfortunate said "I have nothing to prove to anyone, because I did the right thing. The end results is what matters most and that remains my focus now".

He said he is treating the outburst as a calculated attempt to shift his focus on building a solid team for the quest ahead. The former AshantiGold coach questioned why he will select undeserved players when he is well versed with the stakes involved in the pending assignment.

"I owe no one any explanation, I leave that to the management team,

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I have so much at my disposal and these reactions and counter reactions will only waste my time when I concern my self with them".

Coach Akenten was convinced that the right time to justify himself would be after he had achieved his aim of contributing his quota to the revival of the dwindling fortunes of the nation's soccer. The coach told the GNA Sports that plans are far advanced for the team to engage in some vital friendly matches as a build up to their qualifier billed against Gabon in August.

He said the team has trained seven times so far and are expected to peak when the players invited from the camps of King Faisal, Liberty and Heart of Lions joins their colleagues currently camping in Obuasi.

"The players are responding to instruction and I am convinced that the sky will be the limit when the time comes".

He explained that the technical team was poised to adopt a blend of the Brazilian/European style of play, whilst emphasising that coach Sam Arday's, "multi system" will feature prominently in his plans and strategy.

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Mr Appiah on Monday challenged the coach's mode of selection and issued a one-week ultimatum to him to either defend his selection or face the music.

The GHALCA Chairman threatened taking action against the Satellites coach should he fail to explain himself within the given time. It will be recalled that coach Akenteng on Wednesday invited 29 players to camp, ahead of their qualifier to the 2005 African Youth Championship against the Gabonese in August.

Of the 29 players, premiership debutants Fetteh Feyenoord Academy leads the pack with ten players, five from AshantiGold, three from Liberty, with Hearts of Oak, King Faisal and Midtjlland contributing two players each.

Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Great Olympics, Power FC, Real Sportive, Hasaacas and Ambassadors have a player each. 31 May 04

Source: GNA