Former Black Stars forward Prince Polley has accused erstwhile Sports minister E.T. Mensah of influencing player selections at the 1994 African Cup of Nations(AFCON).
The issue of politicians influencing player selections has in recent months become a very discussed topic in the Ghana football circles.
Speaking to Graphic sports, Polley revealed that the practice has been happening since time immemorial.
The former Asante Kotoko forward narrated how he threatened to storm out of the team’s camp in the 1994 AFCON after he was left out of the squad by coach Jim Amoah.
He revealed that Coach Jim Amoah stormed his hotel room with a Bible in hand and confessed to him (Polley) that it was the Sports Minister who influenced the team selection for that particular match.
“All the top players were agitated when the coach dropped me during the opening match against Guinea but I kept my cool and went into my hotel room which I shared with Tony Yeboah,” he revealed.
“It was at this time that Coach Amoah came in with a Bible in hand to apologise for dropping me from the first team, before confessing that the selection of players for the match was influenced by the Sports Minister, E.T. Mensah,” he recalled.
“I am sorry that it happened this way. This was not the team I intended to use for our first match. It was this afternoon that the team I intended to use for the opening match was changed.
“It was E.T. Mensah and other officials from the Sports Ministry who influenced me to come out with this team, so I am appealing to you to look at this Bible and be calm as you sit on the bench because I will by all means make changes and bring you into the match,” Polley quoted Coach Amoah to have said during the interview.
“It was at that stage that I told the coach that If the Sports Minister can use a few minutes to influence him in his team selection in a tournament as important as this, then I am vacating camp to return to Holland because my team need my services so much.
“I, therefore, asked him to release my passport to me to return to Holland the following day,” he added.
“Influencing the selection of players for tournaments was persistent in the Black Stars during our time. It was about leadership. If the one leading the team was considered powerful, he easily influenced coaches in the selection of players for some particular matches,” he disclosed further.
Polley represented Ghana between 1992-1994, he was a member of the 1992 and 1994 African Cup of Nations team.