Former Great Olympics player and manager Godwin Attram has in an interview with Joy Sports discussed a number of football related issues.
The captain for Ghana U-17 World Cup squad talked about superstition in football, his failed stint at PSV, the Black Stars, Ghana league etc.
• On failed stint at PSV
“When I went to PSV, it was very cold there. I was asked if I wanted to train and I said sure. After one training session, PSV said they wanted to sign me.”
“I had my chance at PSV. I signed a contract for two years and five years making it seven years. However, it was hard to get a work permit in the Netherlands. They demanded that I get married there to get the permit. The management told me about this.”
“I was asked to come and serve my country (U20). Two days before the tournament, I was surprisingly dropped. When I tried to return to PSV, the Dutch people did not want me to enter. PSV took the case to authorities.”
“PSV saw me as the next Romario. They had a plan for me to sign for Barcelona or Real Madrid. Usually, PSV players go to those teams unless they do not play well.”
“Due to the permit issue, they decided to send me on loan to Denmark. I trained with Silkeborg IF for one session and the management wanted to sign me.”
“PSV were monitoring me during the time. They saw I was doing well and wanted to bring me back to replace Van Nistelrooy when he was set to move to Manchester United. However, work permit became an issue again. Hertha Berlin made an offer but PSV did not accept.”
“A club from Portugal also made an offer but they did not accept. The work permit was still not done so I told my godfather about it. He found an agent who informed me of a big offer from Japan.”
“My friends asked, ‘what are you going to do there?’ Later I was informed of an offer from Tunisia to revive my career. I told my godfather about it and he said ‘okay, you can go’.”
• On juju in football
“It is not about juju, it doesn’t play football”
“It’s psychology, it’s only to put fears in you, it only happens in Ghana, and in Europe no one is doing it. Ask Ronaldinho, he will tell you juju does not play football.
“There is nothing like ways and means, team manager doing ways and means it’s your focus, training, determination, mental toughness to play on the pitches.”
• On the new GFA administration
“It is good that we have a new GFA President Kurt Okraku. Within four to six years. You will see that Ghana will bounce back in all national levels. You will see great players in our national team (Black Stars).”
• Whether he regrets not representing Ghana at the World cup in 2006
“I have never regretted going to the World Cup (2006). It is a big stage but I went to the U17 World Cup in 1997 as well. If it is not meant to be, you cannot force it. Some of them went to the world cup, where are they now?”
“Legends like Abedi Pele and Mohammed Polo won AFCONs but wanted one thing, to qualify the country to the world cup. They were crying [when they couldn’t do it]. I helped the nation to qualify for the world cup and I am happy with that.”
• On Covid-19 and Ghana leagues
“The league was good. It was really back. Two years we did not play. What makes me happy now is that Germany are playing football today despite COVID-19. People are dying but they are still playing. This makes me believe that football must come back [resume the season].”
“The GFA can adopt some measures to let it happen. We can play behind closed doors.”
• What the problem is at Great Olympics and the way forward.
“The problem Great Olympics is facing now is the structures and planning. I spoke to the new board. What I told them is that, since the board has been formed now. They should form ex-players committee. They will scout players for the coaches.”
“If they are able to form the committee, it will support the club big time. They can get better youth, better players and more transfers abroad to get big money.”
“I would like to congratulate my senior coach [CK Akonnor] for this appointment. I want to urge him that he has what it takes to do the job. He should go all out to do things because he is the coach.
“He can make the decisions. We are all behind him with prayers. He should go all out and he will succeed.”
Godwin Attram is currently the owner of Division One club Attram De Visser Soccer Academy, Attram says he hopes his team will produce players for the Black Stars in the future.
Attram captained the U-17 national team that finish second at the World Cup in 1997.