Last edited: 2003-03-28
Olympics The Wonder Club
Why Olympics is called the ‘Wonder Club’
Accra Great Olympics attained the ‘Wonder Club’ accolade after using a weak team to beat Ohene Djan’s mighty Real Republicans 2-0 in a league match in Accra at a time Republicans were beating every team.
It is also a fact that Olympics inadvertently featured 13 players in an African Clubs Championship match in Accra.
The accolade Wonder Club was conferred on Accra Great Olympics by the late director of Sports, Mr Ohene Djan, after Defence Stars was formed with most of Olympics' reliable players in the army being forced to play for Defence Stars.
At that time too, i.e. around 1962, two players were taken from each first division team (now Premier Division) to form the nucleus of Real Republicans and this further weakened Olympics' team, but lo and behold, Olympics reserve side won the second division league and the senior side placed a respectable third place after sensationally beating the mighty and all-conquering Republicans 2-0 in the league.
It was due to the above factors that baffled Ohene Djan to the extent that elicited the words 'Wonder Club' from the then soccer guru.
It is not true that Olympics featured 13 players in an African Clubs Championship in Accra but rather 12 players and this was as a result of player substitution with the substituted player staying on the field unknown to the referee until the assistant referee drew his attention to it.
At that time, the Apollo 13 space programme had successfully completed its mission to the moon and the episode was labelled as such.
YET ANOTHER VERSION
In 1963, the then Minister of Defence, Mr Kofi Baako realising as an essential part of disciplined military existence and healthy recreational activity, encouraged the formation of a football team — Ghana Army.
Most of Accra Great Olympics players at that time were active service personnel. The news therefore descended on them rather gloomily. As predicted, Olympics lost players like Cpl. Leonard Acquah, Torgbor Laryea and Agyemang among others to Ghana Army having already lost goalkeeper Doodo Ankrah and full back E.O. Oblitey to Real Republicans in that same year.
Discerning football critics and connoisseurs of the game became apprehensive about Oly's chances in the coming season. But contrary to public expectation, no heads went down in their camp, rather, their Dade character came into full play.
Led by their coach Mr A. A. Ampofo (Kofi Charlie), Olympics launched a survival crusade and succeeded in recruiting some unsung, young, but talented players mostly from in and around Teshie/Nungua to augment their depleted squad.
Some of the players recruited were John Naawu (Rubber Man), Frank Odoi (VC 10), Oman Mensah (Mr Chestman) and Adjei Arku. From these youngsters and the few old faithfuls, Coach Ampofo assembled a team by far the best in the history of Gt Olympics F/C, ready to do battle in the coming season (1964).
In a tough, keenly contested league (though abridged) Olympics held soccer fans spell-bound with artistic display of football, finishing a respectable third with 36 points behind Hearts — 37 points with Kotoko leading the pack with 45 points.
Fascinated by the wonderful performance, the late Mr Ohene Djan conferred on them the accolade Wonder Club of Ghana.
Diverse views have been expressed as to whether a Ghanaian club has won the league without a single defeat.
My personal research so far reveals that though the AGOSU boys played 38 or so matches without a defeat — about one-third drawn games during the 1970-71 football season, their performance took a nose-dive towards the concluding stages of the league.
They became disappointingly jaded resulting in losing matches in succession much to the disbelief of their fans.
Regrettably fatigue was assigned as the reason for their late dismal performance by the coach.
Management confirmed that most of their players were also engaged in a highly competitive and hectic departmental league in Tema where majority of them were employed.