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Ghana Loses A Maestro.

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(By Napoleon Ato Kittoe)

The name of Ex-Asante Kotoko captain and Black Stars midfielder has popped up like a tsunami from deafening silence. Unfortunately, *the man is* a persona non-grata and only exists in the posthumous. His sudden transitioning has put many in shock. The footballer retired at the end of the 1980s decade.

Papa Arko last played for kotoko in 1989 during the president’s cup match in Accra which Hearts won 2-1.

Papa Arko was captain of the kotoko team in 1983 which eventually beat Egypt’s Al-Ahly on a 1-0 aggregate to win the African Clubs Championship Cup for the second time after the premordial of 1970.

The line up of Kotoko in the triumphant 1983 season was, Joseph Carr, Ernest Appau, Kwasi Appiah, Seth Ampadu, Kwadwo Addai Kyenkyehene, Papa Arko (Capt), John Bannerman, Yahya Kassum, Ebo Mends, Opoku Nti and Isaac Afranie.

The reserves were Goalkeepers Akye Erzuah and John Baker. Others were Karimu Zito, Francis Agyemang, Emmanuel Quaye “Joe Tex” and Ahmed Rockson.

Papa Arko who is the sole death in the squad, used to be an attacking midfielder who inspirationally pushed men forward to fetch the goals. In the 1989 battle with Hearts, he featured as a guest player for Kotoko to add to the team’s quality, especially as Hearts featured Mohammed Ahmed Polo and the newly signed Opoku Agyemang “Aduro” from Asante Mampong Kumapim Stars.

Agyemang got injured in that match and that ended his football career. Papa Arko rallied Kotoko to pull a goal back after Hearts had raced to a 2-0 lead.

When Papa Arko left kotoko he played in Gabon. He was affectionately called “Soccer Bob Marley,” often with a handkerchief tied around his neck.

END

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