Zdravko Logarusic was shown the exit after the Dwarfs match.

Worrying times for the Porcupines

Bernard Nyankomago Yeboah

Posted on: Tue Apr 18, 2017

If any prophet had told me that the performance of Kotoko would decline suddenly like this, there was no way I would have believed it. The Porcupines have grabbed only two out of 12 points in their last four games – a situation which has left Kotoko supporters nationwide highly frustrated and disappointed. 

Kotoko started the season in a promising manner. Their first seven games were good. We won five and drew two. Out of 21 points, we had 17. We expected the team to keep the momentum but their performance dipped. It has been two draws and two loses. We lost 0-1 to Hearts in Accra; returned home and drew goalless with Inter Allies and lost the third game 1-2 against Medeama at Tarkwa. We stayed in Kumasi last Sunday and drew goalless against Dwarfs. 

That is certainly not what Kotoko supporters bargained for. Let me start with the players because they are chiefly responsible for results. Where is the power with which we started the season? It was difficult for us to lose in the initial stage of the league. Even when the odds were against us, we turned things around as it happened against Liberty, Elmina Sharks and Ashgold. 

We came from a goal down to beat Liberty 2-1 in Kumasi. The match day four fixture against Ashgold at Obuasi was another cracker. The game was first rained off. The score line was 1-1 before it was called off the game. The team showed mental fortitude to beat Ashgold 1-0 the next day. The subsequent game against Sharks nearly ended goalless draw but we won 1-0. 

I got the impression that we were getting better and better but now we are going down. The team’s strength and scoring rate are declining. Lead striker, Yakubu Mohammed scored four goals in the first four matches but he has not scored in the last six games. Much has not been seen of Emmanuel Gyamfi, who was creating most of the chances with his pace and skill. 

Is it because he just returned from injury? There is the need to check because Gyamfi is the engine of the team. If he fails to operate, Kotoko cannot move. The technical staff has much work to do. I personally don’t support the way they keep rotating players. If this player plays today, it will be another player tomorrow. If it is not injury problems that is compelling the coaches to change their first team here and there, then it can’t be anything flimsy. 

Changing the team after every match destroys team work. The players’ stamina ought to be worked on. The fitness level of players is very important. This season’s league schedule is tight. Within eight days or so, Kotoko have played three matches against Inter Allies, Medeama and Dwarfs. We will need physically fit players to deliver. If not, the team will struggle to excel. 

My last focus is on the referees. They seriously have to buck up to save the league. In about three weeks, Kotoko have seriously suffered from poor officiating. First was against Hearts in the Super Clash. Referee Samuel Sukah awarded Hearts a bad penalty to give them victory. Similar situation happened against Medeama at Tarkwa. Apart from the intimidation Kotoko suffered from the home fans, the performance of Referee Issaka Afful was terrible. 

First, he disallowed a clean goal by Emmanuel Gyamfi in the first half. Gyamfi connected a perfect rebound from Michael Akuffu’s free kick but the referee surprisingly ruled him off-side. As if that was not enough, he returned from recess and awarded two controversial penalties against Kotoko within a space of eight minutes. And that was not all, he sent off Awudu Nafiu. 

I accept penalties are part of football but such controversial ones from referees Sukah and Issaka Afful who handled the Medeama-Medeama game at Tarkwa only get fans angry. If the cheating continue in the remaining games, it will definitely have adverse effect on the competition. 

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