Sarpong: Don’t blame Cobblah for Black Satellites woes

Veteran Ghanaian Coach J.E. Sarpong says the blame must be shifted from Black Satellites coach Jimmy Cobblah to the broader discussion of formulating a robust policy on Youth football in the country.

The Satellites Coach has come under intense backlash over his team’s early exit from the ongoing CAF U-20 championship in Niger over the weekend after earning just three points from three games played.

The Satellites thus missed out on a semi-final place in the tournament and qualification for the U-20 World Cup in Poland later in the year.

As a result, Coach Cobblah has been criticised heavily for bad player selection and an abysmal output by his boys.

But Coach Sarpong speaking on Accra based Asempa FM’s Sports morning show yesterday wants the discussion extended to the sinking fortunes of youth football in the country.

“The decline of youth football will adversely affect the performance of national teams and this situation must be of outmost importance to us all.

He recounted how former GFA Capo Ben Koufie’s five-year development plan for youth football played an important role in the growth of youth football and should have been developed further.

“Ben Koufie’s five-year development plan contributed significantly to our first appearance at the World Cup and was therefore a surprise when subsequent administrators failed to follow suit”.

Coach Sarpong attributed the Satellites’ debacle to poor preparation and organisation, warning that if the trend continued, the situation will worsen.

“If we do not put in proper youth systems it will get to a time countries like Niger and the likes will beat us because they are doing the right things”.

He indicated that African countries such as Senegal and Mali have put in structures to develop their youth football and that explains why we are gradually falling behind them.

He called for administrators to marry the idea between colt football and the Academy system as that will give out the best results.

“The idea of setting up Academies is to train and nurture players for the ready market. It provides an avenue to train young players as well, we can successfully blend the two to achieve the best results “, he stated.

The one-time world champions needed a draw to progress to the semi-finals of the competition.

BY NANA BENTSI ODURO

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