Black Stars players and officials have arrived in London for the international friendly football match with Brazil on Monday. They left behind sad scenes of mourning at the loss of a giant football figure.
There was not a single dry eye at the family residence of the late Alhaji Ibrahim Sly Tetteh including retired national team players like Sam Johnson, Sammy Kuffour, Anthony Baffoe, Yaw Preko, Nii Odartey Lamptey and Augustine Ahinful.
Hundreds of mourners who had thronged the family residence of the deceased in Osu, Accra were also stunned to see Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor in a sombre and downcast mood.
The former Real Madrid star was enroute to the Togolese capital Lome when he heard the tragic news and decided to postpone his trip to offer condolences to Tetteh’s family.
Swollen, red eyes, sore with helpless weeping, streams of tears accompanied by the occasional painful shrill outburst of “why, why, why” and “Oh my God Sly is gone,” were common.
The reactions followed the shocking death of one of Ghana’s most powerful and influential football figures through suspected heart failure at the age of 54.
Emotional scenes accompanied the arrival of the motorcade in Accra from Cape Coast where the Ghana FA boss and his entire emergency executive team had gone to convey the corpse.
Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan, who is a big doubt for the London encounter was inconsolable as were his other Black Stars team mates who were all nurtured at Liberty Professionals Football Club including Sulley Ali Muntari, Michael Helegbe and Derek Boateng. Perhaps the most outstanding talent to have passed through Liberty Professionals is Michael Essien who was reportedly stunned by news of his football mentor and godfather’s death.
Barely 24 hours earlier, the Black Stars had comfortably beaten Swaziland 2-0 in a Nations Cup qualifier seen by many as a below par performance because Brazil was regarded as the bigger prize.
However, with the death of a father figure to most of the current Ghana squad and such a close associate of the team, it could prove a decisive factor in how well Ghana perform against the South Americans in London.
Tetteh’s influence was not restricted to Ghana football alone as he ran academies in Togo, Kenya and Benin as well as providing the Ghana Football Association with vital technical assistance for over a decade.
Alhaji Tetteh was one of the closest confidantes of Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi, and was the key architect in the successful election campaign that secured a seat for Ghana on the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football.
The former Sekondi Hasaacas player collapsed on a football field in Cape Coast during a get- together match with other retired footballers and sports administrators.
According to his friend at the scene and sports development director at the Ministry of Youth and Sports – Charles Aryeh, the late Liberty Professionals founder was playing his usual lively game when he slowly slumped onto the turf.
All attempts to revive him proved futile and he was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead a few minutes upon arrival. Tetteh was in the Sekondi Hasaacas team that won the West African Football Union Cup in 1982.