Fusion Captain Accuses Teammates
May. 09, 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.