Odartey Lamptey

Former Ghanaian international footballer, Nii Odartey Lamptey, says the court ruling that brought a finality to his protracted divorce from Gloria Appiah, his wife of 23 years, ends a tortuous chapter in his life and opens up a fresh beginning, especially as the verdict ensured all his major properties to him.

He says the favourable ruling which brought a closure to the case would enable him to redirect his energies into relaunching his football academy project.

“I feel like I have been reborn. No doubt it has been a painful and humiliating time, having spent 23 years of my life in that lane. But justice has been delivered and that ends it,” Nii Lamptey told the Graphic Sports in an emotional conversation hours after the court verdict last Wednesday.

“I’m relieved and grateful that a gruelling four-year battle in the court is over. I will put that behind me and look forward to a fresh start,” he added.

The well-travelled footballer who hit the limelight in the 1990s with his exploits for Ghana’s age-group teams — Black Starlets, Black Satellites and Black Stars — also expressed the hope that his ordeal would serve as a lesson for all people, particularly young footballers.

DNA tests proved that the former Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven and Aston Villa star could not be the biological father of their three children, following which Gloria resorted to court action seeking equal share of Lamptey’s properties, including the Glow Lamp Football Academy, acquired while they were married.

However, in her ruling last Wednesday, Justice Cecilia Don-Chebe Agbevey denied Gloria her request and even gave her a 30-day ultimatum to vacate the seven-bedroom house at East Legon in which she lives. She was compensated with a four-bedroom house at Dome, as well as a car.

It was a ruling Lamptey describes as “God’s intervention” as he expressed gratitude to all those who provided support during the tortuous four-year period.

“I felt dead in these past four years. Sometimes, I felt the earth could just open up and swallow me. I don’t know how many people can endure and go through what I have been subjected to, but that is life and love can turn that sour.

“Thankfully, God did not allow that to happen. It is only through God’s intervention that I survived and did not commit suicide and certainly, it is His intervention that the ruling ended this way.

“I’m happy that it’s all over, because now, I can focus on pursuing my dream of providing opportunities for young children who have talent by re-launching the Glow Lamp Soccer Academy which was badly affected by this battle.

Lamptey has found a new love, Ruweida Yakubu, with whom he shares two young children.

During his career, 44-year-old Lamptey played for clubs in Europe, South America and Asia and retired after a brief stint in South African side Jomo Cosmos.

His career took him to Belgian side RSC Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven (Holland), Aston Villa (England), Coventry (England), Venezia (Italy), Unión Santa Fe (Argentina), Ankaragücü, União Leiria (Turkey), Greuther Fürth (Germany), Shandong Luneng (China), Al-Nassr (UAE), Asante Kotoko and Jomo Cosmos (South Africa).

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