Kotoko still celebrating
Posted on: Thu Jun 21, 2012
The Porcupine fraternity has been in celebration mode although the season has ended and if one can remember, the celebration has never waned since Michael Akuffu rammed home that stupendous late winner against bitterest rivals Hearts of Oak at the Baba Yara Stadium on April 15th.
That jinx breaking win over the Phobians was the icing on the cake and Coach Maxwell Konadu rightly stated that the league title race was over; “It is finished” the coach declared, which was this paper’s headline for the Tuesday 17th edition.
The celebration has hardly quenched before last Saturday’s PLB Awards at the Golden Tulip Hotel in the Garden City where as expected Kotoko topped the winners list. The high point of the night was Midfield Generalissimo Daniel Niii Adjei being crowned the Best Player of the season with Chairman K.K Sarpong, Awal Mohammed and Coach Maxwell Konadu walking away with the Best C.E.O, Best Defender and Best Coach awards. With a very high probability of winning the President’s Cup on Republic Day, it looks like the celebration has no ending in sight.
However the disappointment from last Saturday’s awards was the decision of the organizers to overlook goalie Soulama Abdoulaye and sensational left-back Baba Abdul Rahman in giving out the Best Goalkeeper and the Most Promising Player Awards. I have heard people say Kotoko alone cannot sweep all the awards and I hope that was not the thinking of the organizers because that would be very unfortunate on their part. It does not matter whether one club is sweeping all the awards, the most important thing is that hard work should be rewarded to motivate others to also pull their weight otherwise we are just wasting our time with these awards.
As is often the case in this country, the criteria for choosing awardees is very “confidential” which makes it very difficult for people to comprehend the rationale behind the decision. Otherwise how can Kotoko left-back Baba Rahman who from nowhere walked straight into the left-back position of a club with a huge reputation as Kotoko and even made headlines with his performances for both Kotoko and the Black Satellite, lose out to a totally unknown quantity in Joshua Oninku of Tema Youth?
I also feel for goalie Soulama Abdoulaye, he has really worked hard to regain his form. At a point in time some Kotoko faithful were of the opinion that the Burkinabe goalie had seen his best days and wished Kotoko will sever ties with him but he proved his critics wrong and bounced back in style, conceding only twelve goals in twenty-four matches which is quite phenomenal. The likes of Chelsea goalie Petr Cech and Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas even cannot boast of such a record.
However it is not all gloomy for Soulama after having been ignored by the PLB, he can take consolation in the fact that after a four year absence he has regained his place in the Burkina Faso national team. At least his exploits in the Glo Premier League has been recognized by his country and hopefully he will make the most out of the opportunity and also continue to churn out more exhilarating performances for Kotoko.
Although still in celebration mode, off-season training is in full swing at the Adako Jachie training grounds of Asante Kotoko and a lot of planning also ongoing in the board room and at the various committee levels. The fate of the GHALCA Top Four was not clear as of press time but hopefully by the time the full pre-season programme is rolled out, everything will be clear. I don’t sense that Kotoko will lose too many players to the exodus bandwagon and therefore does not expect mass recruitment except for quite a few experienced hands to strengthen the team for Africa. I also sense that some of the boys in the junior side might get promotion to the senior side which will save the club some dire needed cash.
However the Press Pass is very much concerned about the future technical direction of the club. I can still not believe that Coach Maxwell Konadu is exiting as head coach to become full time Assistant Black Stars coach. In my candid opinion, Maxwell should combine both and strengthen the technical team with one experienced hand who can hold the fort in his absence. Otherwise he should be allowed to walk and the new man allowed to take full control of affairs. We should avoid the situation whereby there is a new man in charge as head coach but still has Maxwell in the background somewhere controlling things. If we are not careful, it could lead undesirous consequences.
The most important thing is for the club to clearly define and settle the future technical direction of the club so that planning and execution can start in earnest and perhaps lead to bigger and greater celebrations in the near future.
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