Kotoko's results have been disappointing.

Where is the Kum Apem spirit?

Bernard Nyankomago Yeboah

Posted on: Tue Aug 30, 2016

Kotoko’s inconsistent performance in the season is obviously not going down well with many supporters of the club. The team will do extremely well today to raise the hope of the fans, and the next day they will fail miserably and put fans in a frustrated mood. This has been the pattern since the league started on February 20 making Kotoko extremely unpredictable.

The past two weeks saw Kotoko fans in a refreshing mood. For the first time in the second round, the Porcupines recorded two successive wins much to the relief and delight of their followers. First, they beat Dreams FC 1-0 in match day 23 in Kumasi and followed it with a dramatic 2-0 win against Liberty Professionals in match day 24 in Accra. Those successive wins brought Kotoko into the picture and mounted severe pressure among the top four teams.

The fans were naturally expecting the Porcupines to claim maximum points in the subsequent game against Aduana Stars in Kumasi to ascend to the top of the league table for the first time in the season but Kotoko missed that glorious opportunity after drawing goalless with Aduana. This has been followed with a 1-1 draw against Hasaacas in Sekondi.

My good friends and devout Kotoko fans Richard Osei Anane of Unibank (Labadi Branch) and Osei Agyekum – a Police Officer at Accra Central, called me to express displeasure about Kotoko’s inability to beat Aduana. I sympathise with them because the pains Kotoko fans have gone through this season as a result of the team’s inconsistent performance is most unbearable.

Taking a critical reflection on the matches played so far, I realised that Kotoko could have easily have won this season’s league if they had maintained a consistent show. What makes the situation worrying is the fact that Kotoko keep dropping valuable home points.

Some years back, the Baba Yara Stadium was tagged “Fast Track Stadium” because Kotoko were unstoppable at the venue. But nowadays the Porcupine Warriors have almost become an ordinary side at home. Any team can just storm the venue and bluff their way through with a victory or a draw. It is a dangerous sign that the “Kum Apem spirit” is dying and the players ought to work hard to resuscitate it.

I recall how some giants in Africa football could not withstand the heat in Kumasi in the past. I recall the massacre against Zamalek in the 1987 Africa Clubs Championship. The Egyptians had beaten Kotoko 2-0 in Cairo and stormed Kumasi to cause stir by scoring the first goal in front of the milling crowd. In the end Sarfo Gyamfi, Windsor Kofi Abbrey, Prince Opoku Polley and their colleagues descended heavily on Zamalek scoring five times to kick them out of Africa. That was vintage Fabulous Asante Kotoko in action.

 I can’t also forget the magic conjured by Eric Bekoe and his teammates at the same venue in the 2008 CAF Confederations Cup against Dolphins of Nigeria. Like the miracle performed in 1987, Kotoko had lost the first leg 0-2 in Calabar and conceded the first goal in Kumasi following a miscommunication between defender Prince Anokye and goalie Soulama Abdoulaye. Kotoko however quickly gathered their weapons together and scored four rapid goals to advance to the next round.

The famous win masterminded by Coach Maxwell Konadu against Hearts on July 15, 2012 in Kumasi is also worth mentioning. Kotoko took the lead and with just two minutes to full time, Hearts came on level terms. Most people thought the game was ending 1-1 but Michael Akuffu sensationally secured success for Kotoko with a typical long range shot to send Kumasi and its environs into unstoppable jubilation. This is how the Fabulous Boys used to thrill fans in Kumasi. Until the final whistle is blown you dare not underrate Kotoko because they could pull victory from the jaws of defeat in seconds.

In the first round of last season’s league, Kotoko recorded two wins; four draws and one loss in seven home matches. The victories were against Inter Allies 1-0 and Heart of Lions 4-0. The draws were against Hasaacas 2-2, WAFA 0-0, Medeama 1-1 and Olympics 0-0. The defeat was against Hearts 0-1. So Kotoko grabbed 11 out of 21 points; scoring nine goals and conceding four in seven home matches played in the first round.

The second round was much better as Kotoko recorded five wins at home against Bechem United 1-0, Ashgold 1-0, Wa All Stars 3-1, B.A United 4-2 and Aduana Stars 4-0. There was no draw. Kotoko lost twice against New Edubiase 1-2 and Berekum Chelsea 0-3. Kotoko thus accumulated 15 from 21 points in seven home matches played in the second round. They scored 15 goals and conceded nine.

It has equally not been easy for Kotoko this season in Kumasi. In the first round Kotoko won five matches; drew two and lost one in eight home matches. Kotoko beat Hasaacas 1-0, Liberty 3-1, Dwarfs 3-0, Inter Allies 1-0 and Techiman City 4-2. They drew against Ashgold 0-0 and Medeama 2-2. They grabbed 17 from 24 points; scored 14 goals and conceded six.

Kotoko have so far played five matches at home in the second round winning two against Wa All Stars 1-0 and Dreams FC 1-0. They have drawn three times against Bechem United 0-0, Hearts 1-0 and Aduana Stars 0-0. It is nine out of 15 points. Kotoko have scored three and conceded one goal.

In all Kotoko have won seven matches; drawn five and lost once out of the 13 matches played at home so far in this season’s league. It is 26 out of a possible 39 points. They have amassed 15 from a possible 36 points in 12 away games. My point is that if Kotoko will find it difficult to win matches away it shouldn’t be home because that is where they have all the necessary congenial atmosphere to deliver.

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