Assessment and positioning

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 6.47.57 PMFROM THE BOARDROOM
Assessment and positioning

Kotoko  1 Kwaebibirem  2

This was an important lesson for us in many ways. I could and should start off by stating that the following players were unavailable due to national commitment with the Black Stars and Satellites. LAWRENCE ADJEI, GODWIN ABLORDEY, ISAAC OWUSU, STEPHEN ODURO AND LAWRENCE KAINYA are the players in question.  GODFRED YEBOAH, KWAKU DUAH, MICHAEL OSEI AND FELIX YEBOAH were all absent through injury. We may have played Kwaebibirem with what in many ways was a second string team BUT there was an important lesson for the team.

We clearly dominated the match but the aim was to score and to win and clearly we failed in this regard. Two unforgivable lapses in concentration at the back cost Kotoko dearly. This should be the time for those players who are fighting for a place in the Kotoko team or 18 when the league begins, to shine! These matches should be the platform for those who wish to be a part of the Kotoko 2001 squad to put in greater effort.

The importance of these pre season matches for all teams is to correct faults and redirect and consolidate where necessary. To date we have played a great number of matches in the off season and this is our second loss. Unacceptable and or but it won’t happen during the season.

Player Update

I missed our match last week against Etoile Filante of Togo. I had another engagement, which I had hoped to raise some money for Kotoko from. I only heard from Ernst just before kickoff that he would be giving a number of players a chance on that day. I have been following both the form and ability of a number of players and this match would have been a continuation of this for me!

The player that I really wanted to see was Charles Asamoah. This young man is a player I purchased from Power FC against advise. Although no transfer fee as such was paid for the boy I arranged at some expense to have him treated in Germany for damaged cruciate knee ligaments! I always knew he had ability but at the time it was the humility of his comportment that convinced me. I understand that Charles showed great promise. I hope he continues to understand that as a professional he must not play with the chance given him and that with care he will be as great as he wants to be! Ernst has been tough on him and has been meticulous in monitoring his progress. Charles over the period has spent considerable time firstly in Germany and then at my private gym in Accra. He has also spent hours on the beach. He has shown determination. The rest is now up to the Almighty. I pray for his continued recuperation!

The second player I was interested in seeing was young Castro Boateng. This young Middendorp player is a player for the future. He apparently showed great poise and promise for a boy so young. He is an indication that Middendorp is planning in the right direction. At this time when we are playing without the likes of Godwin Ablordey, Lawrence Adjei, Stephen Oduro, Isaac Owusu, Lawrence Kainya, Michael Osei, Godfred Yeboah and Kwaku Duah and with Osei Kwame and Nana Frimpong also injured the opportunities for the others in the squad are great!

The third player I had wanted to see was Osei Boateng. This young man simply has not made a single mistake since Louis Quainoo’s arrival in Kumasi. I understand that he made a series of saves, which earned him the title of Barthez! When I told the coach he could have a problem of choice he disagreed. He believes that he now has the luxury of having two excellent goal keepers who are committed and highly competent!

As Chairman a number of players have been recommended for purchase. Over time some have proved to be of great value and others have not been up to standard. I have listed some of the players whom I have purchased or have been purchased during my tenure. On balance most are good enough to feature in any team’s lineup in Ghana.

Player            Former Club        Contract Period
Atsou Frank        Etoile Filante            2
Godfred Yeboah    B.A. United            3
Isaac Owusu        King Faisal            3
Osei Boateng        Olympics            3
Kwaku Kyere        All Blacks            3
Lawrence Kainya    Neoplan Stars            3
Emmanuel Nkrumah    All Blacks            3
Louis Quainoo*    Liberty                3
Nana Frimpong*    King Faisal            3
Abedi Sarfo*        Ntonso Aboaso        3
Angelo Dedon        Bafana Bafana            3
Michael Osei        Dwarfs                2
Robert Boateng    Rosenburg FC            1
Baba Amando         Dubai                1
Felix Yeboah        Power FC            3
Kwaku Duah        King Faisal Babies        5
Kwadwo Owusu    Colts                5
Alex Djane        Power FC            3
Humphrey Amoah    Power FC            3
Oscar Asamoah    RTU                3
Lawrence Adjei    Goldfields            3
Stephen Oduro    RTU                3
Denis Boateng        Afienya            3
Michael Ofori        Goldfields            3
Shilla Alhassan    RTU                3
Shamo Abbey        Okwawu            3
Awudu Adama    Ghapoha            3
Nicholas Addo    Khalid Stars            3
Awudu Ibrahim    Olympics            3
Joe Agyeman        Bofoakwa            3
Eric Arko        Great Africans            3
Lawrence Khamalo    South Africa            3
Tanko Ayuba        All Blacks            3

Williams Thompson        Anokye Stars        7
Patrick Dodoo            Stadium Youth Club    7
Castro Boateng        Anokye Stars        7
Ousman Mohammed        Mighty Akotex    7
Michael Ofosu Appiah    Stadium Youth Club    7
Yaw Sarpong            Ideal Club        7
Osei Kwame (Jnr)        Mighty Akotex    7
Dominic Kusi            Stadium Youth Club    7

* Transaction agreed but not yet complete. Letters of understanding and some monies already paid.

Current Player situation update

Player        Transfer    Which Team        Status
Bakai        Yes        Dawu            Part payment recd.
Hendricks    Requested    Dawu            No payment recd.
Opoku Ware    Yes        King Faisal        Exchange
Joe Agyeman    Loan        King Faisal
Adu Poku    Trials        Boston Bulldogs    Wrote to management asking for
leave to travel for trials without
pay. No further correspondence
recd.
Injured Players

Michael Osei        Broke finger in training
Felix Yeboah        Strained quadracep muscle
Godfred Yeboah    Foot still in POP
Kwaku Duah        Recovering from groin strain
Nana Frimpong    Recovering from fever
Charles Asamoah    Playing back into shape and form following
cruciate ligament operation

The next GFA boss?!

This is a column, which could be run and run and run until our Minister makes his choices. With the need for change and forward movement there is the need for a little added haste in this direction. Clearly I do not envy the new Minister. I say this because as he himself admits he has been out of the country for quite a period and he will therefore need to consult. The question in many ways becomes whom does he consult with in the interest of Ghana football and Ghana sports?

It is not an easy decision to make and yet the nation and the world in many ways expects that the right decision be made. For me I see the importance of the Minister’s decision to be similar to some of the dramatic decisions that I had to take when coming to Kotoko. I say dramatic because one has to ask the fundamental question of whether we want and need to move forward or whether we simply want more of the same again. The same for me and for most Ghanaians refers to the poor administrative and structural approach that has become synonymous with the running of football and indeed sports in Ghana. It is not a surprise that the state of our game domestically and internationally is in a mess.

In many ways I can only commend the process, which brought E.A. Owusu Ansah to the position of GFA Vice Chairman. This is not because of his previous affiliation with Kotoko but because of his integrity and reputation for fairness. I believe that working with people like Alhaji Ibrahim can only be good for our game. With the appointment of the likes of Pappoe and La Danso one can only hope that our future is in safe hands. It is not about the fact that Owusu Ansah is known to have Kotoko sympathies, La Danso and Sylvester Mensah – Hearts of Oak sympathies and Pappoe – Olympics. It is about integrity. The days of involvement by FA members in corrupt immoral and illegal  dealings leading to probes by Government must surely be a thing of the past!

I hope that with the appointments and changes we will move to a point where a level playing field is created at all points.

The past remembered (culled from a book compiled by H.K.Acheampong)…..a continuation

THE BIG SPLIT

TO THE KWAHUS, Easter is one of the best festival seasons of the year. And almost every season during the Colonial days, one really first-class football match highlighted the celebrations.

Easter was looming ahead on the horizon. And Mr. J. A. Wahyee, Chairman of the Abetifi Football Association, went to Kumasi and consulted Asante Kotoko to play a match with the Accra Hearts of Oak on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1954. Asante Kotoko accepted the match and Mr. Wahyee paid them an advance of £50.

Later on there was trouble from the Gold Coast Amateur Football Association, they said that the Abetifi Football Association was not affiliated to them and the staging of the match, by Mr. Wahyee constituted a breach of the spirit and the purpose of amateur football which did not give room for individual promoters for financial purposes.

This issue of whether or not Kotoko should play the match was in the balance. They were forced by the logic of the situation to deputise a three-man delegation, namely, W. K. Donkor, Chairman; J.K. Afranie, Team Manager and Yaw Ntumi, an Executive member, to rush to down to Accra and plead with the Chairman of the Gold Coast Football Amatur of the special circumstances of the time in which the match was being arranged and the unique opportunity that the match at Abetifi would offer.

Mr. Richard Akwei expressed his uncompromising opposition to the match on the grounds that the Abetifi Football Association and that it was contrary to amateur football rules, which he was exerting every effort to introduce firmly into the country’s football organisation.

The Executive was thus placed between Scylla and Charybdis: they must either fly in the face of the authority of the Gold Coast Amateur Football Association, and in consequence, play the match and make the Easter Sunday at Kwahu worthy of the occasion, or abandon the match and court the displeasure of their teaming fans who had already decided to make Abetifi and their Easter holidays resort in view of the match.

So far as the Executive Kotoko felt that they were under the obligation, indeed, an obligation arising out of Kotoko’s affiliation with the Gold Coast Amateur Football Association, to abandon the match completely in the light of the Gold Coast Amateur Football Association’s unfavourable attitude towards it.

Asante Kotoko failed to turn up for the match. Ticket sellers were beaten, their monies looted and dresses torn, chairs were broken and some taken away as thousands of angry fans surged on the Presbyterians Park, Abetifi, to demand their monies for tickets they had bought to see the football match between Accra Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko which was declared “abandoned” as Kotoko failed to turn up.

A “Daily Graphic” Sports Reporter wrote:

“The match was thought of as the biggest in the Kwahu area. From morning people started converging on the town. In the afternoon the town was full of football fans. The weather became dull. A heavy downpour followed. But that could not stop the lorries, cars and motor cycles from coming in with thousands of people for the match.

“While the Accra Hearts of Oak players prepared for the match, Charles K. Gyamfi, Kotoko centre forward, appeared and together with Kotoko with the Hearts officials, Director J. K. Moffat and G. E. Oduro Arthur, the Secretary-Manager entered into conference.

“Gyamfi said that the Kotoko Club had decided not to play the match but they thought that in order not to disappoint the public, he had come with Kotoko’s goalkeeper Edward Acquah, tow other players from Kotoko and the players from other teams to play against Hearts under the name “MY X1”.

“ At first Hearts refused but later when they saw that there was no other way out of the impasse, they yielded and at 4.10 p.m. the players took the field amidst tremendous cheers. The players were Lamptey Mills, Okoe Addy, Teiko Okai, Kofi Gellie, A. A. Mampong (captain), C. D. Arthur, S. K. Maclean, Ananti Ankrah, J. K. Okine, Joe Sampah and Robertson.

“Meanwhile, Mr. C. de Graft Dickson, M.P., who, until his election to the National Assembly, was Chairman of Kotoko Club, conferred with Gyamfi in the dressing room. He reprimanded Gyamfi for collecting a team to play the match and an advised him that to maintain his reputation and prestige, he should not play. Gyamfi took off his jersey and boots.

“On the field, the crowd were getting more and more infuriated at the delay of Kotoko. The referee whistled several times and Kotoko were not coming.

“Finally they rushed to the field and tumult started.

“The ticket sellers were attacked and chairs were broken. The more gentle fans went away quietly.”

The behaviour of Gyamfi and others was a tremendous blow to the Kotoko Club. The Executive, having regard to the Club’s decision to abandon the match, considered it especially humiliating to remain silent and allow the players to flout its authority.

The following day, the Kotoko Executive wrote letters to Gyamfi and six others asking them to appear before them to answer why they should not be expelled from the Club for misconduct and gross insubordination.

The other six players were: Acquah, Felix Boakye, K. Oteng, Kobina Tawiah, John Opoku and Opoku Mensah.

With the exception of Opoku Mensah, Gyamfi and his men refused to meet the Executive to discuss the matter, because they felt that the Executive members had taken a “preconceived decision” and whatever they might arrive at a the meeting would not be fair to them.

Gyamfi explained that there was no clause in the Club’s Constitution and Bylaws, which prohibited a player from playing for another team or club. He added that they did not go to Abetifi with the Kotoko name but rather with the name “MY X1” which was a selected team.

The Kotoko Executive took a very serious view of the matter because if players had not gone to Abetifi, the trouble that occurred would not have happened. The honour of the Executive was too much committed to go back. They were compelled by the harsh logic of events to cause the dismissal of the Club’s intrepid sons like Gyamfi and Acquah.

That was the era when no matter how great a player, he never stayed long with Kotoko unless he behaved in accordance with the regulations of the Club.

“C. K. “, as he is popularly called by friends and admirers, formed the “Great Ashanti” Sporting Club and when the Club was inaugurated on June 30, 1954, at St. Joseph’s School, Kumasi, the following were elected officers: E. K. Wiredu, President; C. A. G. Antwi, Vice President,; M. O. Boadi (now the Accra representative), Secretary; Karam, Treasurer and H. P. Nelson, Trainer. “C.K.” was made captain with Felix Boakye as assistant captain.

The dismissal of “C.K.” and others from Kotoko Football Club marked the beginning of a new era in the football history of this country. For Great Ashanti Football Club it meant its birth and for the Kotoko Club it provided the foundation upon which the Club was able to develop on the basis of discipline, progress and unique sportsmanship. It brought a lifting of the spirit, for it gave the young talented players among the Club the golden opportunity of being selected by current merit and not by past performance. Out of this emerged the celebrated Baba Yara, a former Zongo Cornerstones player.

The rising tide of Kotoko as it had seemed in the past year was not halted by the dismissal. On the contrary, Kotoko marched through a glorious chain of successes.

For four years the Glamour around “C. K.” as a star had increased the prestige of the Kotoko Club. “C.K.” was the goal maker, the chief schemer, and especially when you had Kwaku Duah in the centre forward, you would trust him to deliver the goods.

I have always had great respect for “C. K.” I have admired his sportsmanship in adverse circumstances, but I maintain that this Kwahu affair left much to be desired.

“C.K’s” last match for Kotoko was the one in which he figured prominently when Asante Kotoko, for the last time in the history of Ghana football, met Kumasi Cornerstones in Accra. The two Clubs travelled to Accra and played a match to determine which should wear the 1954 Kumasi championship diadem.

In Kumasi a match between the two team has always been thought of as not merely as a first-class match, but as a battle between two nations. Kotoko stood for Ashantis and Cornerstones for Fantis resident in Ashanti.

Thousands of people had come by train, car and plane expecting to see the match of the season at the Accra Sports Stadium.

For eighty minutes they saw a great match and yelled and cheered. They were treated to the science and skill of football at its very best. But an incident occurred in the last ten minutes, which robbed the game of its greatness.

The time was 5.50 p.m. and “C.K.”, inside right of Kotoko, was moving with the ball. In the penalty area he was met and deprived of it’s by centre-half Appia of Cornerstones. “C. K.” fell and up went the whistle for a penalty. But Cornerstones refused to allow the kick to be taken.

The referee, John Rusbridge from the Army, then blew the whistle for the end and declared the match “abandoned” after eighty-three minutes’ play.

The Chairman of the then Sports Council, Sir, Leslie McCarthy, rushed to the field and advised Cornerstones to continue play but they were obdurate and walked off the field to the dismay and disappointment of all those who had paid to see the match.

A couple of days after the match, J.K. Donkor, Secretary of the Ashanti Football Association was dismissed from office. Donkor was said to have been disloyal to the Ashanti Football Association. He was accused of allowing two teams in the Association to play a match outside Ashanti.

Donkor is the Secretary of the Asante Kotoko Sporting Club today.

Mr. Richard Akwei’s Disciplinary Committee, acting with such powers as those posed by Ohene Djan’s Tachie Menson Committee of today, suspended Cornerstones for a period of six months from playing in the Gold Coast.

They were found guilty of (1) disobeying the decision of the referee and leaving the field unceremoniously and (2) disobeying the Chairman of the Gold Coast Sports Council, Sir Leslie McCarthy, who had advised them to continue to play.

On August 8, 1954, four months after the schism in the Kotoko Club, for the first time in over four years, Kumasi fans saw Kotoko Club, for the first time in over four years, Kumasi fans saw Kotoko play Accra Hearts of Oak without Gyamfi, Acquah, Oteng and Kobina Tawiah who had left the Club. Kotoko defeated Hearts of Oak by three goals to nothing.

Kotoko fought a brilliant battle and gave the 15,000 people who watched the match good value for their money. Hearts of Oaks were beaten not because they were weak, but because they found it difficult to play in boots in such a fast match. This fact was proved when centre forward J. K. Enu and his inside left Joe Sampah pulled off their boots and launched a strong but fruitless attack.

The proceeds of the match were given to the Abetifi Football Association as compensation for the loss they suffered when Kotoko failed to turn up for their match during the Easter holidays.

In a return match played in Accra on 5th September 1954, Hearts avenged their previous defeat by beating Kotoko by 1-0.

And the funniest thing about this match was that the forwards of Hearts appeared barefooted while their defence wore boots – a blend of modernity with antiquity!

A year after “C.K.” and his henchmen had formed their own separate battalion; Great Ashanti met Asante Kotoko for the time at the Jackson Park, Kumasi, on May 9, 1955.

Kotoko supporters believed that if there was any match their team should win it was the match against Great Ashanti. It was not a grudge match, though. But it was such a contest between fierce rivals that a defeat for Kotoko, the older team, would have been catastrophic.

A friend of mine said this a few months ago: “When a bully meets an imbecile in a quiet lonely lane, he becomes a Cassius Clay making minced meat of the poor opponent, as he grovels in the dust and writhes with pain and shame.”

I saw an example of this at Sir Francis Jackson Park, Kumasi, where Kotoko blasted Great Ashanti team by six goals to one.

I quote hereunder extract from the report M. O. Boadi sent to the Daily Graphic on the match:

“CRUCIFIED” – Not yet buried! This is the case of Kumasi Great Ashanti. At the Jackson Park, Kumasi, on Sunday, Asante Kotoko mercilessly crushed them to the point of death.

“Great Ashanti were totally eclipsed and all that they could do was to hold on to the finish to the admiration of the crowd…”

Again when James Adjei arrived in the country from Germany where he did a coaching cause for 18 months, Kotoko played a friendly match with Great Ashanti in his honour and defeated Great Ashanti by 4-0.

It is, however, a historical fact that on 13th July 1957, Great Ashanti accomplished an astonishing feat when they opened two soccer fronts against two Kumasi teams  – Kotoko and Cornerstones – at Sunyani and Swedru respectively.

Great Ashanti held Kotoko to a goal-less draw at Sunyani, and also forced Cornerstones to a 2-2 draw at Swedru.

“Great”, as they are fondly called by their supporters, had played Kotoko three times, losing the first two matches.

As I write, I have just return from Kumasi where I watched a match between Asante Kotoko and Great Ashanti to the tune of 6-1 during the second round of the 1963-4 season. The score was 3-1 during the first round.

During the 1962-3 League season, Kotoko thrashed “Greats” 5-0 and 3-1 at Kumasi and Koforidua respectively.
C. K. Gyamfi is now the national soccer coach, having travelled abroad extensively in furtherance of his desire to equip himself with more soccer techniques and modern brands of strategy.

In the meantime…..

It finally happened ….fuel prices have been increased to ¢10,500 a gallon! The interesting thing is not that it happened but that the public acceptance of the bitter pill is indicative of the public’s support for the government. There are not too many places where such an action would be accepted. Ghanaians need to be commended yet again for this. I believe that Ghanaians are aware of the fact that there will be further price increases. This is inevitable…a case of paying for the sins of the past.

The impact on soccer will be great and we will have to adjust our budgets and modus operandi to ensure that we are able to cope. Rather than complain we will be hoping that the FA will allow us to operate in a manner, which will allow for greater competitiveness. We will need to be able to increase our revenues in order to meet the changing times. If the FA are prepared to adjust their positions on pricing, home team taking all and all the associated costs we may be able to better cope!

It is now clear that the only celebrations, which will be encouraged by Government, is the March 6th celebrations. A number of different scenarios have been suggested which naturally (depending on how you see things) involve football. Kotoko are prepared to participate in any national celebrations as dictated by government so long as there is commercial sense to the “directive”. I believe that this government has shown signs of being dynamically different from their predecessors in that they will call for dialogue rather than indicating that they are directing us! If I am correct then a number of commercial values will have to be considered before we can move forward!

Fabulous- the greatest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s