BY ANNETTE S. YEBOAH
INFORMATION AVAIBLE to the DAILY HERITAGE Sports suggests that British trainer Stephen Matthew Ward, who was employed by Kotoku Royals in the Eastern Region a month ago, has swindled the club to the tune of GH¢31,500.00 and abandoned the club for his country.
The 34-year-old coach, in April 2017, signed a 24-month contract with the Oda-based club, worked for just a month, and left the country with an emergency exit from the British High Commission after alleging that the club had seized his British passport.
Checks by this paper shows that coach Ward’s passport is with the Ghana Immigration Authority going through the process to be issued a working permit. Further checks indicated that his working permit is not ready.
The coach was scouted and brought into the country by Youthage Strategic Organisation, a sports management firm, to work for the division one club after agreeing to personal terms with his agent and the club.
This reporter chanced on a post by the coach on his Facebook wall that paints the image of the country black to the outside world and warns other perspective foreign coaches not to ever dream of taking up a coaching job in Ghana.
“Attention to coaches and staff who may look me up for information. I have been contacted by some coaches about taking a job at my old club in Ghana.
“Please be aware that the players are not getting their salary or bonuses. Some are still missing salary from previous seasons and signing on bonuses.
“A friendly helping notice to all. If you are approached to join my old club in Ghana then be very very careful. The players are not getting paid their salary, some of them for 4 months. Some are owed from last season. This is a fact as I’m still in contact with them.
“The club will make you work without a work permit under a different name. It is illegal in Ghana for a foreigner to even enter the country for work unless a work permit is in place. You can face a BIG fine and imprisonment.
“When I resigned, the club “lost” PRIVATE “TYPE=PICT;ALT=”my passport and I had to report it to the British Embassy. Nowhere to stay, no money in the country and no passport. The club and my so-called “agent” then tried to extort money from me, saying contracts had been broken (contract was invalid the second [time] I stepped into Ghana and worked illegally with no work permit.
“Be very very careful and PLEASE before you think about taking the job, take a thought of all the people not getting their salary and their families they can’t support,” the unedited post on Facebook by the Coach Matt Ward on Tuesday morning said.
When the DAILY HERITAGE contacted Mr Sam Jonah, his agent in Accra, he denied that the club had seized his passport and refused paying him his salary.
According to him, Coach Ward and the management of Kotoku Royals were on very good terms and that there was no sign of rift between the two parties.
Mr Jonah said the coach left the country without informing the club of his whereabouts and that they got to know of exit recently on Facebook.
“I heard that the coach Matt Ward has left the club’s base and lodging at the British Embassy (sic) in Accra. I made the effort to find out his reason of abandoning his post. What he told me was that he cannot work with a club where players are not paid for months.
“I agreed to meet him together with the management of the club but coach Matt Ward failed to turn up for the meeting and also switched off his phone.
“Later I heard that he had left the country without his passport when he knows that his passport is with the immigration,” he said.
The agent, however, denied that the club owes the coach and said it is the other way round.
He disclosed that they had reported the unprofessional behaviour of the coach to the world football governing body FIFA through the Ghana Football Association to intervene in the matter or possibly punish the coach by making him to refund all monies to the club.