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Nii Odartey Lamptey, the odyssey of being nominated by Pelé as his natural successor

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“Nii Lamptey is my natural successor”, assured Pelé before the 6,000 attendees gathered on June 10, 1989, at Glasgow’s Hampden Park to watch the opening match of the Under 16 World.

Championship between Scotland and Ghana teams, which ended in a boring scoreless draw. A very difficult burden to bear for a boy just over 14 years old (born on December 10, 1974), who began to weigh even more than the JVC VCR that he received as a prize for being the best player of the match.

Ghana would eventually be eliminated in the first round of the tournament, but Nii would be tempted by scouting teams from Vasco da Gama, Glasgow Rangers and Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht. Upon returning to their country, the Ghanaian federation, anticipating an eventual escape of their youth, interned them in a makeshift camp and seized their passports. Anderlecht sent a representative to close the transfer of the new African jewel of the moment, with the quality seal of Pelé.

According to Lamptey himself, the leaders of the federation tried to arrest the Anderlecht emissary for his “boldness” and it was thanks to his plea that he was saved from going to prison for wanting to sign him!

Two weeks later the camp was broken up, and Lamptey after some indecisive time decided to go with the agent to Belgium. But without a passport, leaving the country did not seem to be easy… “I didn’t tell anyone, not even my parents. I took what little money I had and went to the bus station and found a driver who was going to Nigeria. I told him that I did not have a passport, but that he wanted to go to Lagos. He told me that if he could pay he would take me and make me pass as his son”.

After a journey that took more than 24 hours, passing through Benin and Togo, having to hide behind the seat at each border post, Nii Lamptey finally arrived in Lagos. There he met the representative of Stephen Keshi, a Nigerian soccer player who played for Anderlecht, and who had convinced him over the phone to join the Belgian team. They falsified his passport, passing Lamptey off as Keshi’s son, thus making it possible for the player to arrive in Belgium. Lamptey recounted years later that due to the “affair” of the false passport, the Belgians subjected him to a test to prove who he really was.

After all the bureaucratic ordeal, in September 1990 he made his debut in the first division of Belgium at the age of 15 with Anderlecht, earning the title in record time..

On August 31, 1991, he became champion of the U-17 World Cup in Italy, defeating Spain in the final, in a match played at the Artemio Franchi in Florence. In that competition , Nii , only 16 years old and scoring 4 goals, prevailed over other players such as Alessandro del Piero, Samuel Kuffour, Marcelo Gallardo and Juan Sebastián Verón, in achieving the Golden Ball of the tournament. The New York Times dedicated an article to him, almost a year later and in the run-up to Barcelona 92, to elevate him to the status of being out of series, once again highlighting Pelé ‘s words in 1989.

In that same 1991 , Nii Lamptey made his debut with the Ghana senior team in a match against Togo for the 1992 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. The Ghanaians, whose stars were Abedí Pelé and Tony Yeboah, won 2-0, but Lamptey left the field of play vomiting blood on the field of play. The player believed that it was “juju” (a type of black magic widespread in the area).

In 1992 Ghana made history by winning the bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics, with Lamptey as one of its figures. A year later he was runner-up in the U20 World Cup after being defeated by Brazil in the final. Nii had played for his team in the three minor categories (Under 17, Under 20 and Under 23) and had reached the podium in all of them.

In mid-1993 Lamptey signed for PSV Eindhoven, to replace Romário, who had just signed for FC Barcelona. Nii scored 10 goals in 22 games, earning him third place in the Eredivisie.

In 1994 he would make the leap to the Premier League with the mythical English Aston Villa, where he would not have as many opportunities, but he ended up playing 10 games and scoring 3 goals. The following year Roy Atkinson, his first manager in England, signed him to Coventry City, where he played even less, 6 games and 2 goals.

The next destination would be Venezia of the Italian Serie B, where he only played 5 games, and due to the lack of opportunities, he decided to return to Ghana. In 1996 he was expelled in the semifinal of the African Cup of Nations against South Africa, being listed as the culprit of the elimination. Only once more was he called up by Ghana, a match against Brazil in which the Africans were humiliated 8-2 in a friendly played in San José de Río Preto.

In 1997 another opportunity appeared, this time from Argentina. Boca Juniors signed him to transfer him to Club Atlético Unió de Santa Fe, where he only played 6 games, although this time it was not because of his performance on the field. After the birth of his third child, whom he named Diego in homage to Maradona, the baby developed a rare disease that did not allow him to breathe. Lamptey decided to give up football and focus on the child’s health, but at 4 months, and despite the efforts of the doctors, Diego died.

Lamptey plunged into a deep and long depression by terminating the contract with Boca Juniors and leaving Argentina. He returned to football a few months later to play for Ankaragücü in Turkey, and later for União Leiria in Portugal. Already with a new representative he managed to sign with the SpVgg Greuther Fürth of the 2. Bundesliga, the German second division. There he played 36 games in two seasons.

Tragedy returned to his life when his daughter Lisa died of the same strange illness that Diego had suffered. Lamptey needed another change of scenery, so he decided to accept an offer from Shandong Luneng Tai Shan of the Chinese league. In 2003 he moved to Saudi football, Al Nassr, and in 2005 he returned to play in his country’s league, Asante Kotoko. In 2007 he moved to South Africa’s Jomo Cosmos, where he played for 6 months and finally retired.

Via Enock Kobina Essel Nìccolo Makavile

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Ghana Football

GFA fines Kotoko GHC 80k for property destruction at Dr Kwame Kyei Complex

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The inquiry by the Disciplinary Committee revealed a 'breach of Article 16(c) and Article 16(2)(f) of the GFA Disciplinary Code 2019.' As a result, Asante Kotoko has been fined heavily, and the money will be given to Nations FC to compensate for the damages caused by the alleged Kotoko fans. Meanwhile, Kotoko returned to winning ways on Sunday, defeating Medeama SC at the Baba Yara Stadium due to Sherif Mohammed's penalty kick in the 60th minute.

Asante Kotoko is facing a GHC 80,000 fine from the Ghana Football Association’s Disciplinary Committee for their disruptive behaviour during a match against Nations FC.

The disciplinary punishment is the result of actions that occurred during their matchday 6 match at the Dr Kwame Kyei Sports Complex.

Dissatisfied with a penalty call by the referee in the last stages of the game, a group of irate supporters resorted to violent behaviour. In protest, chairs were allegedly smashed, and items were hurled into the pitch. Despite the fact that the game ended in a 2-2 tie, supporters proceeded to vent their rage by destroying artefacts at the stadium.

The inquiry by the Disciplinary Committee revealed a ‘breach of Article 16(c) and Article 16(2)(f) of the GFA Disciplinary Code 2019.’ As a result, Asante Kotoko has been fined heavily, and the money will be given to Nations FC to compensate for the damages caused by the alleged Kotoko fans.

Meanwhile, Kotoko returned to winning ways on Sunday, defeating Medeama SC at the Baba Yara Stadium due to Sherif Mohammed’s penalty kick in the 60th minute.

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Ghana Football

Hearts of Oak to play home games in Kumasi following the closure of Accra Sports Stadium

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The temporary location change was caused by the Accra Sports Stadium, which was overseen by event organisers for the Christmas festivities. Alhaji Brimah Moro Akambi, a Hearts of Oak Board Member, confirmed the decision, indicating that the Phobians will play their home games at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium for the rest of the year. However, beginning in 2023, the club is open to evaluating alternative locations.

According to Onua Sports, Hearts of Oak have opted to transfer their home games to the Baba Yara Sports Stadium following the shutdown of the Accra Sports Stadium due to scheduled Christmas celebrations.

The highly anticipated Ghana Premier League match between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, which was originally scheduled for Accra on December 8, will now be played in Kumasi, with Hearts of Oak designated as the home team.

The temporary location change was caused by the Accra Sports Stadium, which was overseen by event organisers for the Christmas festivities. Alhaji Brimah Moro Akambi, a Hearts of Oak Board Member, confirmed the decision, indicating that the Phobians will play their home games at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium for the rest of the year. However, beginning in 2023, the club is open to evaluating alternative locations.

Hearts of Oak are currently 14th in the league rankings with 12 points. Following the resignation of coach Martinus Koopman, assistant Abdul Rahim Bashiru has been named to handle the squad until a permanent replacement is found.

On Tuesday, they meet the Accra Lions, looking to get back on track after three straight draws.

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Ghana Football

Maxwell Konadu released from hospital

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Meanwhile, the Ghana Police Service has announced the arrest of one individual engaged in Maxwell Konadu's attack and beating. The police are also on the lookout for another suspect who is presently on the run. The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has banned the Sunyani Coronation Park, which serves as Bofoakwa Tano's home stadium. Meanwhile, in the matchday 12 games this weekend at Nana Kronmansah Park, Nsoatreman FC will host Heart of Lions.

Maxwell Konadu, the head coach of Nsoatreman FC, has been released from the hospital following an attack by Bofoakwa Tano fans.

The incident occurred on Sunday, following Nsoatreman FC’s 1-1 tie with Bofoakwa Tano in Week 11 of the 2023/24 Ghana Premier League season.

Konadu was rendered unconscious during the assault and was taken to Sunyani Teaching Hospital.

According to a club release, the former Black Stars assistant coach has been fired.

“Our coach Maxwell Konadu has been discharged from the hospital. We thank everyone who said a prayer for our coach during these difficult moments. Efiri Tete Amanaso,” a statement from Nsoatreman FC said on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Police Service has announced the arrest of one individual engaged in Maxwell Konadu’s attack and beating.

The police are also on the lookout for another suspect who is presently on the run.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has banned the Sunyani Coronation Park, which serves as Bofoakwa Tano’s home stadium.

Meanwhile, in the matchday 12 games this weekend at Nana Kronmansah Park, Nsoatreman FC will host Heart of Lions.

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