The question of the importance of the coach
I have long argued about the relevance and importance of the coach in all sports. He is crucial and fundamental to the success of the team. England under new coach Sven Goran Eriksson beat Spain by three goals to nil. The importance of the victory had a great impact on me because of both the attitude of the players and the player selection made by the coach.
The coach is always responsible and it is for this reason that coaches are well paid and are ultimately fired when the team fails. The coach makes the selection, is responsible for training and tactics, feeding, etc etc etc. Sven Goran Eriksson’s new England played with steely grit and great flare to beat the Spaniards. The new players like Ball, Powell and Lampard played beyond themselves for Eriksson. The truth of the matter is that in the final analysis it is all up to the coach!
Cecil Jones Attuquayfio
Fine coach but not big enough for the Black Stars. When I first heard of Attuquayfio’s appointment as national coach I honestly believed it was some a ploy to see him disgraced. I understand that at one time when he was in charge of the Black Meteors when Brazil had put eight goals past Ghana and that he simply did not have the technical know how to tackle the onslaught. As the coach of the Black Stars Cecil was responsible for the selection of the players, planning the schedules, coaching, liasing with the coaches of the “other” teams, the conditioning and the disciplining of the players. The coach is the boss. Sadly under Cecil we have lost three games on the trot! The buck always stops somewhere and I think it important that with the damage done to our national reputation that Cecil does the honourable thing and resign. I know that Ghanaians when found guilty of offences or failing in their duties find it difficult to do the right thing and resign but I hope that in Cecil’s case he will do the right thing and resign so that we as a nation can start planning for the future. After all having lost three games on the trot there can be no other better reason to resign. Given that Hearts are fit and ready and preparing for both the champions’ league and the clubs championship in Spain I believe that Cecil can play a crucial role here for his club!
If Cecil does not do the right thing then I would hope that the powers that be fire him!
FM stations and the post mortem
I was called by Tony Amofa to comment on Ghana’s loss to Sudan in the World Cup qualifier. I was extremely surprised to hear firstly that both E.T. Mensah and Abedi Pele absolved the coach in so far as they felt the poor attitude of the players was to blame. I was surprised because it is up to the coach to not only select the right players but to be responsible for their behaviour, attitude and performance! I then heard that Ade Coker had also been called and that he had blamed the defeat on ways and means (or perhaps a lack of). His retort confused me all the more because I recall his time at the helm of Ghana soccer and the little he contributed in this direction. The correct structures and appointments need to be put in place to ensure that when presented with opportunities as we have been (Dossena setting us on the right path) we don’t squander the chances with three unnecessary defeats!
The question of discipline
The Kotoko team is now an essentially well-disciplined squad. The coach has ensured over a period of time that he now has a set of players who are prepared to listen, learn and play for him! In the early days I witnessed the effects of what an ill disciplined side could have on the whole team!
Ernst Middendorp demands discipline and commitment. We in management are fully appreciative of this. We have seen the negative effects of what an ill disciplined side can have on one another. The recent Black Stars defeats against Congo, Liberia and Sudan pointed to a lack of direction and control. The importance of discipline can and should never be under estimated. On a personal note what I find difficult to understand is that several if not all players seem to want to play competitive soccer in Europe. In Europe discipline is simply not an issue. Indisciplined players will simply not get the opportunity to play at the highest level.
We have armed Ernst to make sure that the discipline of the team is kept in check. He will shortly be issuing a memo, which will ensure that absenteeism and lateness to training and matches without prior permission will not go unpunished. The rules as outlined in the Kotoko player contracts state the following:
“If the player is guilty of misconduct or a breach of any of the training or disciplinary rules or lawful instructions of the Club or any of the provisions of this Agreement the Club may either impose a fine not exceeding 1 month’s basic wages and bonuses. The Club shall inform the player in writing of the action taken and the full reasons for it, and this information shall be recorded in a resister held at the Club.”
If the disciplinary problems are very severe then the club reserves the right to take action.
“If the player shall be guilty of serious or persistent misconduct or serious or persistent breach of the Rules of the club or of the terms and conditions of this Agreement the Club may on giving fourteen days written notice to the player terminate this Agreement in accordance with the Rules of the Football Association and either the Rules of the FA Premier League or the Regulations of the Football League as appropriate and the Club shall notify the player in writing of the full reasons for the action taken.”
I think it important that I also start publishing player absenteeism from training etc. It is all too easy to blame the coach for players ill conduct when the truth is not known!
By the time this edition is released we would already have had congress. Given that Adansiman beat Power FC the commencement of the 2001 league is ready to be announced. I would also hope that matters such as home team takes all, differential pricing and the printing of our own tickets have been passed as we have been advocating.
Joe Aggrey and Sports
Joe has been nominated Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports! Does this mean that we now call him Honourable…Minister…Deputy…I am not sure. For those of us who have known Joe for some time it will be difficult to call him anything else. Although some may see his choice as bold…. others may see it otherwise. Joe’s knowledge of sports as a whole is much better and greater than the majority of the people who could have competed. As the Chairman of SWAG and the Editor of Graphic Sports Joe has earned the support of many people. The big challenge for Joe will now be to make his sector work. To be effective the Ministry will really have to be shaken. Joe will need to create a strong team of people he can trust and who are committed to the implementation of some of his programmes and ideas. I believe that we will all support Joe in his new role and also pray that his successors at Graphic Sports manage the paper professionally.
And now for…the GFA Chairman and management board member
Now that Mallam’s deputy has been named we are all waiting with baited breath for the appointment of the new FA Chairman and management Board member! At this stage I believe that the least said the better!
The past remembered (culled from a book compiled by H.K.Acheampong)…a continuation
THE BIG SPLIT
“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.