Ex-Black Stars player turns destitute

AGUADZE

• The incapacitated Aguadze in his sofa

With his clutches by his side, the former soccer star sat pensive, all alone in his tiny room, the 14-inch television set his only companion.
Mensah Aguadze, the former Black Stars left-winger, whose dribbling skills earned him the nickname “Brazil”, is now a shadow of what he used to be.
Unable to mobilise, the 78-year-old father of eight has no pension, no provident fund and no welfare scheme to benefit from.
Aguadze gets no help whatsoever from the state he served diligently and faithfully with all his youthful exuberance.
Once his gets assistance from family members to sit in his sofa at sunrise, he remains there all day long under the shelter of his tiny bed into which he retires after sunset.
Aguadze gets help to bathe, and with personal hygiene from his children.
The forgotten soccer hero is desperately in need of company. So, when he recognised this reporter through the trapped door from his room late afternoon on Sunday, he shouted: “Come, come in and sit down.”
That set the tone for a chat between the Times Sports and the man whose efforts earned many victories for the Black Stars years ago.
Aguadze insisted that patriotism in sports was of a much greater value than money.
“We played for the love of our country,” said the player who was in the national squad which reached the grand-finale in the 1970 African Cup of Nations tournamnent in Sudan.
Prior to that tournament, Aguadze was part of the national team which undertook a training tour in Brazil from 1969 to 1970.
He recalled his days with Real Republicans in Accra and said that “determination was our weapon on the field”.
The destitute and incapacitated former football star said that when he later joined the Mighty Eagles in his hometown Ho, the same determination helped the club to defeat soccer giants Accra Hearts by a goal in two league matches, and added with a smile that, “I scored the goal in each derby”.
Aguadze whose memory is fading slightly told this reporter that although he remembers his age, he does not remember his exact date of birth.
“But from my name Komla, I was born on Tuesday,” he added.
Within intervals of a few minutes, he mentioned fellow national squad and club members like Kwesi Owusu (Power House), Robert Follie, Robert Mensah, John Eshun, Alex Mingle, Charles Edah, Charles Dzakpasu and James Dogbe, and said “we were all like brothers”.
Aguadze also managed to recall an encounter between the Black Stars and Egypt in his heydays and while shaking his head said that, “I remained on the bench throughout the match”.
He got emotional when he  struggled to finally remember the names of GFA boss Ohene Gyan and former Black Stars coach Ben Coffie, compelling this reporter to chip in another topic.
Aguadze retired from football in 1974 to take up farming at the outskirt of Ho, near Adaklu-Kodzobi.
In 1993, his health began to deteriorate, with his mobility reducing.
About two decades ago, Aguadze appealed to the state for help but that appeal and subsequent ones fell on deaf ears.
Today, he lives miserably in the slums of Ho-Ahoe and looks up only to his children for support.
The Times Sports spent time with Aguadze in the slum where he lives and found out that the help from his children is definitely not enough for the man who helped to raise the flag of Ghana to great heights.
In his state of deprivation, he still loves and follows football.
Ghanaian Times: What message do you have for players of today?
Aguadze: You will always get provoked by your opponents and their fans and sometimes your own fans and team mates, but never get angry on the field because anger does not produce good results in soccer.

FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO

email
Print Friendly

Leave a Comment