Let’s not get carried away
Kotoko’s participation in CAN 2000 continues to have great relevance for both Club and Country. Our opening match against Goldfields was undoubtedly the reason why Oseikrom was full on Sunday. The attendance the following day was predictably low because of the fact that the match was played mid afternoon on Monday. Many supporters also complained that they had spent the best part of the previous day at the Stadium and were exhausted. Others mentioned that they had to plan their finances to enable them plan watch “other” more interesting matches.
Criticisms have already started. This is inevitable considering the size of the event. Some are legitimate and one can only hope they will be sorted for future matches. The problem of issuing accreditation to relevant people appeared tedious to say the least and the sight of Diplomatic personnel getting admitted into the Stadium and then being denied a seat was unfortunate. The counter argument that this was a reflection of first day security has some relevance but only if things are smoothed out for the future. The Millennium celebrations in the UK were marred by long queues (people had to wait up to 3 hours to see the shows) and the Director of the Dome’s credibility was seriously tarnished. Organising major events is an art and there will always be some that are dissatisfied. The organisers must be sensitive to the grievances of those attending and improve. They must be aware of the fact that it is not just about football. If guests are looked after the possible investment spin-offs will always be great. Ghana needs all the help for the present and for the future.
We at Kotoko must not get carried away with our current exercise. For CAN 2000 we have played twice and won on both occasions. Both victories were welcome and served to provide us with a sense of what still needs to be done. We are rebuilding and there is plenty of room for improvement. David Booth has shown that he is a true professional. He needs tools to work with and the understanding of all concerned. It was refreshing to see Kotoko scoring goals. Last season Kotoko only registered three goals once and that was against Ghapoha in Kumasi. It was also refreshing to see the young boys; Kwaku Duah and Kojo Owusu play well in the match against B.A. United. They are the players of the future.
The Congress will be taking place next month. It is important that we take the opportunity to get things right. Thankfully Club Chairmen have already decided that Home Team Takes All from next season. I would hope that before the season starts the question of referees, their remuneration and their individual credibility can be discussed and dealt with! Expecting officials to behave with honour seems too much to expect if the right remuneration is not attached to the expectation. I understand that non-FIFA referees are currently paid ¢66,000 and FIFA referees ¢10,000 more! This clearly does not make much sense. These figures should be multiplied by a minimum of 10 times this amount. I also believe these payments should be made by the GFA and not from match proceeds or from Clubs. We need to find ways to pit action plans together that will benefit all Clubs. Football as E.T. Mensah says is big business! Very few Clubs are run profitably. We need to look at National Club lotteries or such things to generate the kinds of monies that will help Clubs to survive and pay their players a basic minimum. When one looks at American Sports there are common marketing and fund raising programmes. Not all sporting institutions have the pedigree or support of Kotoko and therefore require help. We should also look into how Clubs can be better managed. Soccer is too big and too important to let clubs be run as some are. If monies can be raised to assist some clubs they should then be assisted administratively to ensure that they re managed effectively. It is clear from the Presidential enquiry into player transfers that several Clubs have not been run professionally. Indeed the problem of direction and control stems from the controlling body, The GFA.
The question of professionalism continues. Asante Kotoko has suspended some players for indiscipline. Kotoko has been left with choice in this matter. Whilst in the UK I learnt that two players in particular had refused to train. I spoke to them Gabriel Opoku Ware and Mohammed Polo on more than one occasion advising them to resume training. They felt that they would be transferred even though there had no indication of this from management. I explained that Kotoko had confidence in them and this had been exhibited by their trip to Europe as well as the conversations I had with them. I asked them if they wanted to leave since I had heard rumours that they were “flirting” with Goldfields (and in the case of Polo, Hearts of Oak). I spoke with team Captain Adu Poku and asked him to speak with Adu Poku and Polo. Victor Aidoo also travelled without notice. Management has had no choice in this matter but to suspend the boys. Discipline is at the centre of any relationship and Kotoko must be able to display this at all times. The sad truth of this matter is that most players want to play in Europe and yet players who exhibit this characteristic will never be able to play for top European sides. Football management is all encompassing and not easy at all. Gabriel called the office and left a message for me indicating that he wished to be placed on transfer. Management will consider any offers that are made for these boys!
Fabulous – the best