On this day 18 January 1963 (Exactly 56 years ago)
One of the stalwart personalities in the soccer revolution of Ghana is Mr Josef Ember of Hungary -former national team coach. But his services to the nation and to the Black stars in particular were brought to a dramatic, albeit abrupt end, after his two- year service.
On January 18, 1963, Mr Josef Ember, Ghana National Football Coach, had his appointment terminated by the Director of Sports, Mr Ohene Djan, because, reportedly, the Central Organisation of Sports (C. O. S), could no longer pay for his services.
Mr Ember had his appointment terminated not long after he had arrived from Hungary after three months leave . And what surprised Ember was that, before he left for Hungary, Mr Ohene Djan had paid him a special tribute at a cocktail party organised by the C. O. S. for him and his wife.
Mr Ohene Djan said that Mr Ember “is the only coach whose contract has been renewed by the C. O. S. because of his good services”. He said it was through Mr Ember’s guidance that the Black Stars made a successful soccer tour of the Eastern European countries and proved themselves the unbeaten champions on the continent of Africa.
The Director said he hoped Mr Ember would continue to impart his good soccer knowledge to the future Ghana footballers on his return from leave to assume a new post, as the Technical Advisor to C. O. S. on football training methods.
It was the same day C. K. Gyamfi was appointed the Ghana national football coach in the absence of Ember.
But the knowledgeable coach returned from Budapest only to receive the bombshell.
And so the nation was in danger of losing the adroit and most competent coach. However, the Fabulous Club, Asante Kotoko, came to the rescue and thus won the singular honour of being the only club in the country to employ a full time coach.
The following day, 19th January, 1963, Asante Kotoko employed Ember as it’s full time coach and signed a two- year contract with him.
This sensational development followed only a few hours after the news of the termination of Ember’s appointment with the Central Organisation of Sports by Mr Ohene Djan, Director of Sports, had broken out.
A statement from the Club, issued simultaneously in Accra and Kumasi on 20t January, said Ember’s employment had been made possible by the magnificent liberality of two Accra businessmen, Mr B. K. Edusei, a contractor, and Albert Owusu Ansah, Managing Director of a firm of Architects.
Both men, the statement said, had guaranteed the salary of Ember for the two -year contract period. Mr Edusei told the Press that they had decided to employ Ember because they felt he was a “very brilliant coach whose departure from Ghana would have been a rather sad lose to football “. He said they had given the coach the same terms as he received under the C. O. S. Mr Edusei said further that the coach would have absolute freedom to develop the club in his own way.
With Ember in charge, Asante Kotoko won the 1963/1964 League, sets record for not losing a match in the first round (W16 D1 L0).
On this 18 January 1976 (Exactly 43 years ago) Mama Acquah’s only strike was enough for Hearts of Oak to beat Asante Kotoko and claim the Guiness Gala Trophy for the second time in a row.
Both teams had to play with ten men for a greater part of the game when a player on each side was shown the red card.
On this day 18 January 1992 (Exactly 27 years ago) Colin McMillan of the United Kingdom defeated Ghana’s Percy Oblitei Commey for the Commonwealth (British Empire) Featherweight title at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, United Kingdom.
NB: Commey won the Ghanaian featherweight title, African Boxing Union featherweight, and Commonwealth featherweight title during his time.
On this day 18 January 1983 (Exactly 36 years ago) IOC restored Jim Thorpe’s Olympic medals (Pentathlon & Decathlon victories) posthumously 70 years after they were taken from him for being paid in semipro baseball
Thorpe, who left an Indian reservation in rural Oklahoma to become perhaps the best all -round athlete the America has ever produced, surrendered the medals he won in the 1912 Olympics at Stockholm after admitting that he had previously played two seasons as a 60 dollars a month semipro baseball player. In addition, his victories were expunged from the official Olympic records books.
But 36 years ago today, culminating a long battle by Thorpe’s family and others to have his victories reinstated; Juan Antonio Samaranch, then president of the International Olympic Committee, presented his children with gold medals to replace those he had turned back, and silver replicas were given to each of them.
“Well, the 70-year-old marathon is almost over”, said Thorpe’s daughter Charlotte, who had led the long successful fight to have her father’s Olympic victories reinstated. But her efforts will not be over, she said later, until the remains of her father are returned from Jim Thorpe, Pa; where they belong.
Most of Thorpe’s 13 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren were in the audience as the medals were presented at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee, and they hollered in approval.
Six of Thorpe’s seven children were present for the award ceremony.
One son John, wore the crimson tribal costume of his position as chief of the Sac & Fox Indian tribe. All American in football, Thorpe, who died in 1953, was an all-America football player under the late Glen (Pop) Warner at the Carlisle Institute, a vocational school in Pennsylvania. He also starred in baseball and track and field.
But Thorpe’s era was one which Olympic competition was rigorously regarded as solely the pursuit of amateurs.
Thorpe’s admission that he had taken money in 1909 and 1910 when he played for the Rocky Mount, N. C, team of the North Carolina Eastern League caused him stripped of his honours.
His medals were taken and given to the second – place finishers, a Norwegian and a Swede.
On this day 18 January 1896(Exactly 123 years ago) First college basketball game with 5 players on each side was conducted by the University of Iowa.
The 1896 Chicago vs. Iowa men’s basketball game was the first five-on-five college basketball game played in United States history.
Although the sport had been first played in 1892, seven to nine players had been used on a side. At the urging of the University of Chicago’s head football coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Chicago’s men’s club team traveled to Iowa City, Iowa, to play the University of Iowa on January 18, 1896, in an experimental game.The match was played in Close Hall, and due to seating capacity constraints, only approximately 500 people were able to watch.Iowa physical education teacher Dr. Henry F. Kallenberg reduced the teams to five players on a side, and the modern version of basketball was born. Kallenberg came to Iowa from Springfield College, where he was a classmate of Dr. James Naismith.Chicago won, 15–12, to secure modern college basketball’s first-ever win.
By George ‘Alan Green’ Mahamah