Owing to a strong desire to beat their arch-rivals, Accra Hearts of Oak to the Ghana Premier League title in 1996, Asante Kotoko allegedly went the extra mile of bribing some Ebusua Dwarfs players to play a match of convenience in their decider in Swedru, Central Region.
According to former Dwarfs striker Willie Brown, some of his colleagues took the money to help Kotoko win the 1996 Ghana Premier League, but he did not.
The former Ghana U-17 player said he rejected the money because it was not something he had worked for.
“I quite remember we played a match against Kotoko. Kotoko bribed some of our players. When they brought the money, I said this money is not my hard-earned money. Although my salary didn’t come regularly at that time, I said that(my salary) was my own money. So I didn’t take the bribe and I sent them away. They initially went and gave the money to my wife who rejected it before they finally gave it to my brother-in-law. This happened in 1996. In that match, if Kotoko had won, they won have finished first but I made Hearts finish first instead,” he told Dan Kweku Yeboah TV.
He said his brother-in-law tried persuading him to take the bribe but he ordered his in-law to return the money and tell them if he gets the chance he will score.
“My brother-in-law said, “here is the money, should I give it to you?” I told him “No, it’s not my money. But tell them if I get the chance, I will score.” so he should take the money back, and give it to their team manager.”
Willie Brown kept his word and pulled parity for Dwarfs from a corner to tie the game 2-2 at the death. He said after the scoring he almost got dragged by Kotoko officials who were present at the stadium.
“It was 7 minutes left to full time, and we got a corner. It is something I learned from Kwofie and I sued to practice in training. With the power I put behind the ball, it just hit the bar and went in, 2-2. When the referee whistled for the full time I saw the Kotoko officials coming to me and I shouted “I’ve not taken any money”. Their officials were coming onto the field because they have heard that Hearts have won. So at the moment the team manager, game and showed them the money and they were all quiet.”
Willie Brown revealed that the Kotoko team manager offered him a move to India which earned him his first financial breakthrough deal after rejecting the bribe.
The former Ebusua Dwarfs player was a member of the Black Starlets team that won Ghana’s first U-17 World Cup in 1991.
Watch Willie Brown’s interview with Dan Kweku Yeboah TV from minutes 11:00