Saturday Jun 20, 2020. 12:00
Former Ghana international Laryea Kingston says he does not blame coach Ratomir Dujkovic for being excluded from the 2006 World Cup squad.
Kingston played a major role in helping the Black Stars secure their first appearance at the global finals, but he was ultimately left out of their final 23-man squad due to three-match ban picked up at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the same year.
The midfielder would have been banned for Ghana’s first two games against Italy and the Czech Republic, and Dujkovic opted against the risk of including a player in the final selection who may have only been available for one group stage match.
“I don’t think the problem was from Dujkovic,” Kingston, who also missed out on the 2010 World Cup, told Goal.
“Of course he is the coach, so people will put blame and everything on him. Sometimes he doesn’t take all the decisions. Definitely, like coaches do, they seek advice and plan all sessions and selections with their backroom staff, so I don’t think he took that decision solely. We had people around him that he would confide in taking such a decision.
“I don’t want to put blame on him or any other person. They should have done better but it was a collective thing. Because he is the coach, people will say he has to pick his players. But I don’t think Dujkovic decided on my going out of the team alone. It was a group of people who did that so I can’t put blame on anybody.”
He added, “The incident that happened – has happened a lot in football. Sometimes referees can take decisions and later on be like ‘wow, I was too harsh’.
“I realised what transpired between me and Habib Beye is nothing for which we should be sent off and banned for like three or four games. So immediately after the game, I confronted the management and told them to get the tape and watch.
“Frankly, I did not watch it until [last March] when someone called me and told me it is being shown on GTV and that was the first time I saw that moment. But whatever happened is still fresh in my memory. [Back in 2006 after the game] I asked them [management] to get the tape, try to watch and appeal the decision to at least cut down the ban.
“They did not follow up so for me I was very disappointed. They did not act fairly. If they had followed up and added a little effort, they could have reduced the ban.
“The lowest point of my career will be when I was excluded from the national team, especially for the 2010 World Cup.
“Ahead of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, I was one of the players who played almost every game to qualify the country to the tournaments. In 2010, on the final day to move to the tournament in South Africa, I was asked to go home.
“For me, it was a very big blow and up to today when I think about it or people talk about it, it weighs me down a lot. I think that would be the worst moment of my career.”