Ex-Kotoko player, Malik Jabir.

Ex-Kotoko players in focus

Bernard Nyankomago Yeboah

Posted on: Wed Feb 15, 2017

I have a lovely niece who is so passionate about football. She is Kyeiwaah Christiana, a trained Teacher. Nana Ama as she is called loves Kotoko to the hilt. Kotoko is dear to her heart that anything she hears about the team, she will quickly calls me for confirmation. 

Every Tuesday and Friday, I get myself prepared for questions because as soon as she gets a copy of Kotoko Express, she will call me to ascertain certain things in our publication. That has been the norm ever since she moved from Agogo to Accra two years now. 

As anticipated, she called me the afternoon after our eighth publication this year and shared her views on Stephen Oduro’s retirement. “I learnt Oduro is finally going on retirement. I think it is a good decision. He’s served Kotoko well and deserves a rest. I’m pleased with the retirement package given him. He clearly deserves that. I hope the current players will emulate him and serve Kotoko wholeheartedly” she said. 

That was her exact words and I support the challenge she’s thrown to the young generation of Kotoko players. I may be young to know the numerous players who have plied their trade at Kotoko since 1935. I however that players who served Kotoko well are today adored by the supporters. Even on retirement, they still get some benefits from the team. 

During Dr. K.K Sarpong’s time for instance, he introduced a policy that anything Kotoko was travelling away for their Africa matches, one old player will accompany the team. That privilege started with ‘Golden Boy’ Abdul Razak. He joined Kotoko’s trip to Algeria for their CAF Champions League match against M. O. Bejaia. 

It wasn’t the first opportunity given to Razak after his retirement. In the year 2003, he was given the nod to coach Kotoko. Interestingly, he was assisted by ex-Kotoko defender, Frimpong Manso. They masterminded a historic Premier League title for the first time in a decade. That’s how Kotoko recognise their loyal ex-players. 

Other legends like Osei Kofi, Malik Jabir and Ibrahim Sunday who powered Kotoko to their first Africa Cup glory in 1971 against Englebert of Congo are still honoured. They’ve also got the chance to serve on various positions in the team. Malik Jabir was last season appointed the club’s Technical Director. He has previously handled this position. 

In 1983 for instance, Malik assisted Coach Ibrahim Sunday and led Kotoko to beat Al Ahly of Egypt for Kotoko’s second Africa Cup. Wilberforce Mfum and Osei Kofi have also handled managerial roles in the team before. There’s no way the history of Kotoko can be written without their contributions because of they did yeoman’s job done. 

Osei Kofi, who served Kotoko for 13 years (1962 – 1975) always says that but for Kotoko, there’s no way he would have achieved fame in global football. Opoku Nti remains a hero because of the success he helped Kotoko to chalk especially in 1983 where he scored the Africa match winner against Al Alhly. 

His playmates in the 1983 Africa team, Ebo Mends and Ahmed Rockson were also given the chance to coach Kotoko in 2010/10 season as he Opoku Nti was then Special Assistant to Executive Chairman, Dr. K. K. Sarpong before succeeding Dr. Sarpong as General Manager. 

Michael Osei, Godwin Ablordey, Prince Adu Poku among others have recently served on the Kotoko technical bench. Former captain Ablordey, after a dedicated service to Kotoko came back as a Team Manager. He assisted Michael Osei last season. He’s currently the assistant Zdravko Logarusic. 

Former striker, Shilla Alhassan has been appointed the new Team Manager. I can’t wait to see Stephen Oduro also on the Kotoko bench soon. This development of always giving former players the chance to serve on various platforms in Kotoko is good but today’s players must note that, it is an opportunity they would get only after a dedicated service. 

They should be motivated by the stories of some of these excellent ex-Kotoko players to give their best to the club now for a future reward awaits them however they perform today. 

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