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The home performance has not been too good.


Home performance under scrutiny


Bernard Nyankomago Yeboah

Posted on: Wed Jun 21, 2017

The Baba Yara Sports Stadium (formerly the Kumasi Sports Stadium) used to be my favourite ground when I was growing up as a Kotoko fan. Anytime I visited the venue, I knew I would surely return home with victory and joy in my heart. It didn’t matter which opponent Kotoko would play, you could count on the Porcupines to deliver. 

The winning spirit at the stadium inspired me to make the venue my second home. From my hometown (Agogo Asante Akyem, where I grew up) to Kumasi was quite far. But once I knew I would get something to cheer about on match days, I would leave whatever I had to do and head to the stadium to watch Kotoko in action. Sometimes, I would even sneak out of school (boarding house) together with friends and we cared less about the risk involved. 

The Baba Yara Sports Stadium was an amazing place to be. Historically, I can cite wins that Kotoko have recorded in difficult matches at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium against African club heavyweights. First on my mind is the famous win against Zamalek of Egypt in the 1987 Africa Clubs Championship. Kotoko lost the first leg 2-0 in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. We returned to Kumasi and conceded the first goal. The Egyptians then had a commanding 3-0 lead and most fans thought the dream was over for Kotoko. 

Kofi Abbrey, Prince Polley, Sarfo Gyamfi and their colleagues stood firm and pull Kotoko from the clinching jaws of defeat; scoring five goals within a twinkle of an eye to win the match. Fast forward 21 years on; I haven’t forgotten the sensational win against Dolphins FC of Nigeria in the 2008 CAF Confederation Cup. Like the 1987 incident, Kotoko lost the first leg 2-0 in Calabar and conceded the first goal in the return leg. 

In the end, Harrison Afful, Samuel Inkoom, Francis Coffie, Eric Bekoe, Kwabena Yaro scored four goals for Kotoko to qualify to the group stage of the competition. That’s how Kotoko used to perform magic at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium. No matter who you were, if you dared Kotoko at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, you were sure to leave with total annihilation. 

During the heydays of Stephen Oduro, the Baba Yara Sports Stadium was tagged the “Fast Track Stadium” due to the ease and swiftness with which Kotoko used to deal with opponents at this venue. Where’s that ease and speed with which we dumped opponents? Where is the spirit which Kotoko showed to beat Hearts 2-1 in 2012 under former Coach Maxwell Konadu? 

It’s natural to draw or lose matches in Kumasi but in recent years, the trend at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium has been heartbreaking. Three seasons ago, Berekum Chelsea whipped Kotoko 3-0 in Kumasi. It was unbelievable. Last season, and even before then, New Edubiase also beat Kotoko twice in Kumasi. 

In the first round of the 2016/17 Premier League for instance, we won four home matches against Liberty 2-1; Bechem United (1-0); Elmina Sharks (1-0) and WAFA (1-0). Though there were complaints about Kotoko’s scoring rate, I thought once the three points were secured, it was the most important thing. Surprisingly, since March 16, 2017 that Kotoko beat WAFA 1-0 in Kumasi, there haven’t been any win until Sunday’s 1-0 win over Wassaman in the FA Cup. 

Before then we had four continuous home draws – Inter Allies (0-0), Ebusua Dwarfs (0-0), Aduana Stars (1-1), Tema Youth (0-0). Hopes of the situation improving in the second round haven’t been too encouraging but we shouldn’t lose hope. On match day 17, we were held to a 1-1 draw against Great Olympics. Out of a possible 15 points in five home matches, we have got five. We’ve scored only six goals at home and conceded three. 

This is obviously a worrying trend. Something ought to be done about it. The team must try hard to win at home and make the Baba Yara Sports Stadium a fortress again. Whatever the problem is, we have to find an antidote to it. There must be a solution to our inability to win at home. I’m expecting the team to improve on their home performance and win matches. 

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