Former France defender, Marcel Desailly, has explained why he played for the Le Bleus instead of the Black Stars.
Despite his Ghanaian roots, Desailly, born Odenke Abbey, chose France over Ghana.
He tells Joy Sports he never had the choice to pick Ghana at the international level because he had established himself within the youth national teams of France.
“I was already in the [France] system. I got professional from 18/19 years of age, and I got my opportunity to join the French national team, so there was no choice to even consider,” he revealed.
Marcel Desailly since he retired from professional football, has spent the majority of his time in Ghana working on sports projects as a way of giving back to the community.
He spoke about his past organization, Lizzy’s Sports Complex, and how it was his dream even while he was playing overseas.
“When I was a soccer player, I already had the ideas and vision to come back to Ghana and settle and develop sports infrastructure.
I knew it was a little bit poor especially in sports, so I had plans.”
Those plans became a reality when he built the Lizzy Sports Complex, a multi-purpose sports facility at the heart of Ghana’s capital.
But, after almost a decade, the former AC Milan defender appears to have reneged his commitment to the facility, saying it is not worth investing his resources in.
“After 10 to 11 years of operation, I am a little bit tired,” he stated.
“I had to make a lot of things available to make sure the service we were giving was really at that level.”
Between 2009 and 2016, Marcel Desailly was linked to the Black Stars coaching job twice. However, it never materialised, with many suggesting high financial demands the country could not meet.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup winner said one of the reasons he did not coach the senior national team is his commitment to the project.
“I missed the chance to be the coach of the Black Stars because of this investment as well.
“I had to follow on this investment. As of now, I’m done. It’s not profitable,” he stated.
Marcel claims he invested a lot of money yearly without recouping much, citing that as part of his for moving on from the facility.
“If you want something to last you need to bring expertise, we were about 90 people in the sports department alone. Every year I was putting my private money back into the system.
“So, after 10 years, I’ve spent over 1.5 million every year supporting the business to cover the debt accumulated.
“Maintenance of the pitch, paying of salaries, generator, and others. That is why no one comes into those services for kids because it’s not profitable,” he explained.
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