Asante Kotoko legend Stephen Oduro, popularly known as “Tico Tico” has divulged why he was banned for a year during his stint with Real Tamale United (RTU) in 1999.
RTU after the 1999 U-17 World Cup in New Zealand confirmed that talented midfielder Stephen Oduro has joined “big spenders” Ashanti Gold for a fee reported to be around GHC12,000.
However, the unexpected happened as the player didn’t join Ashanti Gold but rather joined regional rivals Asante Kotoko, the incident lead to the 1 year ban of Stephen Oduro.
Speaking in an interview with Don Summer of Angel FM in Kumasi and monitored by footballGhana.com, Stephen Oduro revealed why he was banned.
“After signing for Ashanti Gold I received a share of GHC4,500 from the money. I was so excited because I had never seen such an amount before. Truth be told I didn’t fancy the move to Ashanti Gold because there were great players at their folds, but their management convinced me and assured me of enough playing time”, he told Angel FM.
“So after finalizing the deal with Ashanti Gold they gave me two weeks to prepare and come back to Obuasi as the league was about to commence but for all this while I was sleeping with my father.”
Oduro revealed that Kotoko showed interest in him after he had signed with Ashanti Gold and then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the club, Herbert Mensah did everything in his power to hijack the move.
“Kotoko management led by Hebert Mensah came directly to my dad who was a staunch supporter of the club and told him how ready they are to sign me. In spite of that, my dad told me to return whatever I took from Ashanti Gold and play for Kotoko.”
“In fact, Hebert Mensah convinced me a lot so I accepted to play for Kotoko. I was very happy to the level that I didn’t know I have signed for Ashantigold. My dad was also blissful”, he continued.
“I later told Kotoko management that I have taken money from Ashanti Gold, but they told me to return the money. So I return the money and told them I don’t have interest in the club again”
“So it became a banter between Kotoko and Ashanti Gold. However, Ashanti Gold dragged the case to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and I was banned for a year for double registration. So in the year 2000 I didn’t play a part in the GPL.”
Prior to the 1999 U-17 World Cup in New Zealand, Stephen Oduro who had a great premier league season with RTU was expected to start for the team, but somehow he had to settle for a place on the bench for most parts of the tournament.
Stephen Oduro revealed why he didn’t get much playing time at the tournament.
“I was really disappointed because everybody including my teammates knew I was going to play but things turned around when we went there. I was there one day when the coach came to me personally and said, he knows I am supposed to start but he knows the reason why he has opt for Atiku.”
“I played our first game against Spain but I was coming in at times as a substitute. I was not a starter because he chose Atiku over me’
“I don’t really know the reason why I was dropped because I was on top form. For clarity, it came out that Atiku was Jones ‘son’ and a favourite player to him. During the tournament Atiku used to wash his cloth and do other domestic chores for him”
“In fact, it was surprising that, a player who was not part of the team from the onset broke into the first 11.
“At the time we were in Ghana I was playing but when we went for the world cup I was lost my position to Atiku and it was not because of form. The coach wanted to use his son” he said.
Who in this world is without regrets? No one I think, and Stephen Oduro wasn’t any different human. The midfielder disclosed that not winning the 2002 CAF winners cup with Kotoko and the May 9th disaster are his two biggest regrets.
Kotoko in 2002 lost the CAF winners Cup to Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco. Kotoko after losing the first leg 1-0 in Morocco defeated Wydad 2-1 in Kumasi to make the results 2-2 on aggregate, however the results wasn’t enough as the Porcupine warriors lost the trophy on away goal rule.
“Not winning the CAF winners cup in 2002 and the May 9th disaster are the two greatest regrets in my life. Truth to be told, our defeat to Hearts of Oak in 2004 confederations cup did not upset me”, he told Don summer.
“After losing the final I thought that was the end of my life because there were a lot of promises from our management. I thought I would not get money in football again due to that defeat because motivation in terms of money were high. You can ask any of my teammates.”
“We were promised a house each. Aside the house, there were other mouthwatering promises from the fans, the life Patron Otumfuo Osei Tutu. In all each player could have earned about GHC15,000 plus a house but it couldn’t materialized.
“It took me three days to return to normal life aftermath of our defeat. I locked myself up in my room for several days but God knows best”, concluded.
Stephen Oduro joined Asante Kotoko from RTU in 1999, he went on to represent the Porcupine warriors for more than a decade and won multiple trophies with the club.