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Kotoko fans celebrate in Tarkwa.


Rallying for Medeama revenge


Gideon Boakye Botwe

Posted on: Fri Jul 07, 2017

Playing football in certain parts of this country often becomes a difficult experience especially for teams who are unfamiliar with certain venues. Things become even harder when referees also decide to constantly interpret the rules of the game wrongly and to opponents’ advantage. 

That was what Kotoko experienced against Medeama at the T and A Park, Tarkwa on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 when the Porcupines visited for their match day 10 encounter. Intimidation on and off the field; officials of Medeama prevented my good self from taking pictures of the match from the inner perimeter though my presence had been discussed at the pre-match technical meeting. 

Five macho men were put on me to make sure I didn’t improvise anywhere behind the inner perimeter. They monitored my movements, kept threatening that they will attack me if I dared touch my own camera. I tried climbing a scaffold but the hooligans pulled me down right in front of Medeama President, Moses Parker who, surprisingly didn’t utter a word. 

My colleague, Bernard Nyankomago Yeboah, was stopped from taking notes on the game. Updates on club’s social media outlets was stalled as a result. His phone was seized. A Good Samaritan intervened to get his phone back to him. Accra Representative and Professional League Board (PLB) member, Thomas Boakye Agyeman was slapped for no just cause. 

Kotoko Express didn’t come out the following Friday because we couldn’t produce without match reports and of course pictures. While this was going on behind the inner perimeter, the players and technical officials were also fighting their own battle against an overly aggressive Medeama side whose brute, cynical tackles went unpunished Referee Issaka Afful whose assignment that afternoon was to ensure that Kotoko lose the match at all cost. 

Michael Akuffu twice beat the offside trap but was flagged offside even before he could strike. Yakubu Mohammed was crashed by the Medeama goalie and a defender but the referee turned a blind eye. Emmanuel Gyamfi scored a perfect goal which was disallowed and then, Ahmed Adams scored a sweet goal by heading home Michael Akuffu’s lovely corner kick. 

A stupefied Referee Issaka Afful who would be handed a four-match ban by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) couldn’t help than award the 32nd minute goal. Kotoko hanged on to the lead till the last ten minutes of the game. Issaka Afful had to execute his assigned task. 

He sent off Team Nurse, Emmanuel Osei Owusu for questioning him on why he knowingly ignored Michael Akuffu who suffered a heart contusion after he was hit in his ribs in an aerial tussle. Akuffu was motionless on the pitch for nearly four minutes. Referee Issaka Afful didn’t stop play because he wanted Medeama to score. The medics were furious. 

A player’s health was in grave danger. Issaka Afful continued his diabolic work. He awarded dubious penalties in seven minutes. The first earned center-back, Awudu Nafiu a dubious red card. Issaka Afful eventually accomplished his assigned task. Medeama won 2-1. The defeat compounded the feeling in camp for former Coach Zdravko Logarusic and his players. 

Zdravko lost his job. I’ve taken time to recount these Tarkwa incidents to serve as a reminder that, Medeama acting in cahoots with the referee cheated Kotoko. Our image was battered for unjustifiable reasons by a club whose support base is only comparable to the number of people who attend one Circles meeting in Kumasi. Gracefully, Sunday is the return game. Nothing can be more rewarding than winning against this team. Medeama must be beaten. 

Kotoko and its followers are more sensible and civil. We will neither heckle nor maltreat Medeama officials; their players or handful of supporters. We will not get the referee to cheat them. We must intimidate team with our numbers when they turn to look around. 

Our huge presence alone could instill fear in them. Human beings must cover the seats at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium. We must come in our numbers to go after Medeama with our chants. Let’s rally around the Porcupine Warriors to shut down anything Medeama put up on Sunday.

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