Ghana Loses A Maestro

From the deafening silence, the name of Ex-Asante Kotoko captain and Black Stars midfielder popped up like a tsunami. Unfortunately, it is a tragedy the man is gone for good, his sudden demise leaving many in shock. The footballer retired at the end of the 1980s decade.

Ernest 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 Kotoko 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 primordial of 1970.

The lineup 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.

The sole goner in the group, Papa Arko used to be a dominant force in midfield 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.

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