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Fusion Captain Accuses Teammates

May 9, 2000

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ The captain of the struggling Miami Fusion accused some of his teammates of playing poorly on purpose so coach Ivo Wortmann would be fired.

At a news conference to announce Wortmann’s firing Monday, Francis Okaroh said he could tell that some Fusion players were not playing as hard as they could in a 3-0 loss to Chicago on Saturday.

``Several of them, about five or six whom I will not name ... but they know who they are ... were not trying to win Saturday,″ Okaroh said. ``They wanted to make Ivo look bad. I was not happy and I made my feelings known to them.″

Okaroh called his teammates’ conduct ``embarrassing, shameful and disgusting.″

``I was out there Saturday yelling at teammates `Move or get off the field,‴ he said. ``I have never had to worry about a teammate before.″

Miami general manager Doug Hamilton said if Okaroh’s allegations are true ``there will be a new series of issues to deal with.″

``We care tremendously about our product and what we give the fans,″ Hamilton said.

Wortmann _ 21-28-4 overall in two partial and one full season with the Fusion _ did not attend the news conference and did not return phone calls seeking comment.

This year the Fusion are last in the Eastern Division of the MLS with a 1-3-4 record and last in the league in wins and goals. During one stretch they went 457 minutes without scoring, a team record.

New coach Ray Hudson, hired on an interim basis, has been a television analyst for Miami for 2 1/2 seasons and works as its community outreach manager. He’s a former midfielder and captain for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the defunct North American Soccer League.

Hudson said the Fusion players have seemed to lose their drive.

``I will challenge them to stand up for the colors of the Fusion and for their professional integrity,″ he said.

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