Legendary Ghanaian coach Joseph Emmanuel Sarpong, popularly known in Ghana as JE Sarpong, has publicly admitted that Ghana’s Black Meteors side received favours during a Beijing 2008 Olympic Games qualifier against Nigeria at the Accra Sports Stadium.
After an Asamoah Gyan inspired team laboured to a 3-2 loss in Abuja on June 3, 2007, the Black Meteors, then coached by the late Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, needed at least a 1-0 win over the Nigerian Dream Team handled by ex-international Samson Siasia to book qualification to the 2008 summer games.
But, a string of missed chances and profligacy from striker Prince Tagoe caused Ghana to miss out on a ticket for the global showpiece.
Assistant coach to Attuquayefio at the time, JE Sarpong, confessed during an interview session on GTV Sports+’ The File show that the center referee extended a series of favours to Ghana during the game but, the West African powerhouse failed to take advantage of that.
“It is a very emotional memory and I try to avoid it all the time because it was a big opportunity we missed to qualify the team to Beijing for the Olympic Games. We created numerous chances on the day but failed to utilise them. Even the referees wanted us to win. There were situations that were clearly offside but the referees didn’t whistle. But, we still couldn’t make use of any of those opportunities,” he said on The File show on GTV Sports+.
Nigeria’s Dream Team at the National Stadium, Abuja overcame the seeming psychological battle against the Black Meteors of Ghana in one of the African Zone Beijing Olympic qualifiers by handing the visitors a hard-fought 3 – 2 defeat. Ghana needed just a 1-0 win over Nigeria to qualify but couldn’t.
The Black Meteors squad had Bernard Kumordzi, Emmanuel Allan, Samuel Yeboah, Asamoah Gyan, Prince Tagoe, Isaac Vorsah, Kennedy Korley, Emmanuel Boakye, and Haminu Dramani.