The Ghana international talks about the repercussions in attracting top brands for football in the country
Aduana Stars forward Yahaya Mohammed believes derogatory remarks concerning the Ghana Premier League from the likes of coach JE Sarpong has contributed to the top-flight’s challenges in attracting a headline sponsor.
The Ghana international was reacting to an allegation by the coach which claimed 60 per cent of players in the nation’s top two football divisions smoke marijuana, also known as weed.
The Premier League went without a headline sponsor between 2015 and 2018 after First Capital Plus Bank, now Capital Bank, prematurely ended a partnership over restructuring purposes.
Xylofon took over the mantle in 2018 but a turbulent corruption scandal crashed the partnership in less than a year. The league has since been without a lead sponsor.
“How can we get sponsorship if an experienced coach like JE Sarpong brands our local players as weed smokers?” Yahaya quizzed during an interview with Light FM.
“This type of utterances does not help the league to attract sponsorship, so coach Sarpong should desist from that.”
After Sarpong made his controversial claim, Ghana striker Yahaya, current second top scorer in the Premier League expressed disappointment in the coach and called on Sarpong to retract his statement and apologise.
The coach has, however, remained unapologetic, rather lashing out at the former NC player. He has worked with top-flight outfits Asante Kotoko, Aduana, Liberty Professionals and Ebusua Dwarfs.
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Former Hearts of Oak and Free State Stars striker Louis Agyemang spoke to Angel TV on the matter.
“Weed smoking among Ghanaian footballers is nothing new. Even some colts footballers smoke before playing, so Premier League footballers smoking in Ghana is no news. It didn’t start today. We just have to be honest with ourselves and take measures to end it,” said Agyemang.
“When I was in Ghana, I witnessed many footballers doing it but when I went to South Africa, I realised that at the end of every game, they’ll invite one or two players and test their [blood and urine] samples. It is because we don’t test in Ghana that’s why most of the players feel free to smoke. I can say it is one of the reasons some players cannot excel when they travel outside Ghana.”
The 2019-20 Ghana Premier League is currently at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic.