Citi Sports’ Rahman Osman pays a tribute to the late Sam Arday who died in Accra on Sunday February 12. Arday won the 1995 U-17 World Cup with a very unique style termed the “Multi System”.

On the afternoon of Sunday, the 12th of February 2017 when football fans in Ghana were filled with smiles because the long-awaited Ghana Premier League season had started, news broke midway through the games that one of the finest coaches the nation has ever had, Sam Arday, was no more.

Very sad news is the demise of a coach who had shown through his works that patriotism and dedication towards a course was the way to ultimate satisfaction and global success. The legendary coach died at the age of 71.

He lived for Ghana football and he died on the job as the technical director of the West African Football Club, one of the best academies if not the best in Ghana. Sam Arday became a household name when he led Ghana’s Male Football Olympic team to win a bronze medal in Barcelona 1992; the first for an African country.

Players like Samuel Osei Kuffour who went on to play for Bayern Munich, Maxwell Konadu, who is now the assistant coach of the Black Stars, and Nii Odartey Lamptey all owe gratitude to Sam Arday, who played a key role in their development as young footballers at very vital times of their young careers then. Coach Sam Arday paid his dues at all levels of Ghana football.

ACHIEVEMENTS WITH STARLETS: He won both the African and FIFA U-17 Championships in 1995 with the Black Starlets. The likes of Emmanuel Bentil, Abu Idrissu, Bashiru Gambo, amazing dribbler Awudu Issaka, Dini Kamara and Stephen Appiah who later united a talented yet divided Black Stars team to qualify for the country’s maiden world cup in Germany 2006 were all part of Arday’s all-conquering Starlets team.

Before beating Brazil 3-2 in the final of the tournament played in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, they went past Japan, host country Ecuador, the USA, Portugal and Oman.

Below are the highlights of the Ghana-Brazil final from the 1995 U-17 World Cup (video courtersy: FIFA’s YouTunbe channel)
After becoming the first African to win both the continental and FIFA U-17 World Cup Sam Arday earned the lasting nickname Multi System Man, stemming from the expansive style of football he believed in and lived for. At a time when Ghanaian coaches played mainly a 4-4-2 system, Arday’s exciting Starlets team shuffled between 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and the 4-4-2 thus the name “Multi System”.

Observers say that the Multi System was Arday’s interpretation of the Total Football system pioneered by the Dutch in the 1970s

ACHIEVEMENT WITH THE BLACK SATELLITES: At the U-20 level and he won bronze in the African Youth Championship with the Black Satellite in 1991.

HIS WORK AS COACH OF THE BLACK STARS:
At the senior level, he managed the Black stars from 1996 to 1997.

He was part of the coaches who qualified the Black stars to its maiden FIFA World, Germany 2006, having coached the team in one of the qualifier, the goalless draw against DR Congo in Kumasi; a game the Stars could ill afford to lose.

During the World Cup in Germany, Arday offered himself to be a member of the back room staff of the Black Stars and scouted Ghana’s opponents to help then Serbian coach Ratomir Dujkovic to qualify from the group.

CLUB CAREER:
He is one of the few privileged to have coached both Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oaks.

They are the two biggest clubs in the history of Ghanaian club football.

GREATEST IMPACT:
Amongst all the laurels he won, his major achievement goes beyond a mere trophy.

His greatest achievement is with Gomoa Fetteh Feyernord now West African Football Club. The Academy has produced players and still continues to produce players for the nation. He is the pioneer of Football Academy system in Ghana.

The legacy of the West African Football Academy will be enjoyed forever. The families he continues to feed just because he made professional players and coaches from raw talents will remember him forever even if the nation forgets him. Farewell Legend.

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By: Rahman Osman/citifmonline.com/Ghana

Follow Rahman Osman on Twitter: @iamrahmanosman