League Title in Hands of Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
What an amazing run by Asante Kotoko in this year’s Glo premier league. With forty-five points, thirteen wins, six draws, two losses, twenty-eight goals scored with only nine against out of twenty-one matches, the Press Pass has called the 20011/12 league for Asante Kotoko with nine more rounds of matches to go.
I will give a “gargantuan” amount of the credit to Coach Maxwell Konadu and his technical assistants not only for taking an unassailable lead but the way they did it; with panache which has led to many of the title contenders throwing in the towel even when they still have some kind of mathematical chance of winning. If one looks back and compares how the team started the season in blistering form with the likes of Ahmed Toure, Nathaniel Asamoah leading the onslaught and now a completely different attacking duo of Kofi Nti Boakye and Ben Acheampong taking over, one cannot help but give testimony to the great job by Maxwell and Co.
Even more admirable is how hitherto fringe players like Michael Mensah, Richard Yeboah, Osei Kofi, Eric Donkor and the others, have come through the ranks glittering like polished jewels. However despite calling the league in favour of the Porcupines, Kotoko cannot afford to rest on their oars because this is the year Kotoko must show class and prove to all that the club is on the ascendancy and ready to dominate Ghana and Africa once again. The only way the club can do this is to win, win and win every game. We should not lower our guard at all but rather continue to widen the gap so that the difference between Kotoko and the rest becomes as clear as day and night.
This is more so because it is getting increasingly irritating when one hears on almost daily basis, certain officials of some “mushroom” clubs talking on air about Kotoko in absolute contemptuous manner and without any respect to the club’s rich history and proud achievements. It is about time Kotoko re-asserted itself on the local scene again and to this end I think the club is on track. Next in the line of fire is New Edubiase who will be visiting the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday and they have to leave Kumasi with nothing but pain and disappointment. Although Kotoko have to a large extent restored Baba Yara to its fast track status this season, Edubiase deserve some kind of “special treatment” for being the first of the only two clubs to have defeated Kotoko this season.
They must really feel the pinch where it hurts most. Kotoko owe their supporters a big revenge against Edubiase on Sunday and in this regard I say over to Maxwell Kotoko and the players. Having already called the league for Kotoko, there are some two games that Press Pass like most fans, will not be thoroughly satisfied with Kotoko’s performance without the Porcupines posting impressive wins in these two games. I have just talked about New Edubiase and the second game is the duel against bitter rivals Hearts of Oak. It must be the icing on the cake. I know the Phobians are plotting to spoil the party but we cannot afford to allow them to have their way.
After beating Hearts, we can change the focus to the F.A Cup and start dreaming winning a league and F.A Cup double. There will be more on the Hearts game subsequently in this column but for now it is Edubiase’ turn to fall at Kotoko’s sword. Kotoko’s form this season is fantastic and it would have been a great opportunity for the players to have international exposure if the Porcupines were to be playing in the CAF Confederation Cup, which would have prepared them for the Champions League next season. In fact as Chelsea are growing from strength to strength, after their five-star performance against Raja Casablanca in the first leg Champions League duel last weekend, it is possible that if Kotoko were also doing well in the second tier competition, Ghana could have regained the two Africa slots this year.
However as fate would have it, it is only Chelsea who are flying the flag of Ghana in Africa at the moment and we wish them the best in their continental adventure. The issue of Coach Goran Stevanovic’s successor will not die down until a substantive coach is appointed by the GFA. This week former France captain Marcel Desailly has come into the picture strongly and is seen as the front runner by many people. In such situations, one cannot be very sure until a deal is done or an announcement made. I am not among those who put a lot of premium on Desailly because I am not convinced of the Frenchman’s suitability although very qualified for the job.
No matter how one looks at it, it will be a big gamble to give Desailly the nod considering the weight of expectations of Ghanaian football fans. However if the FA is ready to gamble, then I will rather prefer we gamble on Kwasi Appiah because he is Ghanaian and it will make plenty of sense to invest in one of our own and also, even if we don’t reap instant result, we stand to gain in the long run. In any case if Desailly gets the nod, I will not lose sleep over his appointment and will wish him well. The point here is that although most good coaches played football, very few great players have succeeded at coaching at the highest level, an example is Diego Maradona. So we should be careful we don’t attach too much importance on someone with clout over someone who is capable. At AFCON 2012, Zambia Coach Herve Renard proved to all that you don’t need clout to be a successful coach.