Title defence is a priority – Opoku Nti
Posted on: Fri Jul 20, 2012
With Kotoko winning the league title this season, many believe that the club could do it again next season. Plans have already started to ensure that feat. In the interview below, Opoku Nti, a Special Assistant to the Executive Chairman, Dr. K. K. Sarpong reviews the 2011/2012 season and concludes that the league title defence is a priority. He spoke with Jerome Otchere.
Kotoko Express (KE): Not much has been heard of you since the season ended; where have you been?
Opoku Nti (ON): I have been around. Apart from being at the office, visiting the training ground and watching matches, most of the things I have been doing or I did during the season, were behind closed doors. For instance, I was always talking to the players; advising and encouraging them anytime I made any observation about them. Nii Adjei, Isaac Amoako, Ahmed Toure, Yahaya Mohammed, Awal Mohammed, Gideon Baah, Yaw Frimpong, you can ask them; they were some of the players I was in constant touch with, advising and encouraging them.
KE: Do you think your advices were helpful?
ON: Absolutely, they were. Some of these players were downcast. They needed people to talk to them, to encourage them and speak to them over whatever was bothering them and consequently offer advice; useful advice that in most cases changed things for the better. We are a family. When something is not right with a member, the best thing to do is to offer support or help.
KE: Were you surprised that we won the league title?
ON: I was not surprised looking at the kind of work we did during the pre-season. The inputs from the Board and Management were enormous and the coaches and players and the supporters all played their roles well. The performance exhibited by the team was excellent. At some stage, it was clear that no club could beat us to the league title. The recruitment was good. We planned well and there was also team work. There was a great deal of professionalism in our work.
KE: What is your assessment of Dr. Sarpong’s administration?
ON: I believe we first have to thank God and of course, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for the appointment of Dr. K. K. Sarpong; the Board of Directors and the Management Team. Through them there has been tremendous improvement at all levels of the club’s development. The structures that have been laid by this administration will go a long way to help the club. Dr. Sarpong’s administration is doing a fantastic work by all standards. Take sponsorships for example. There have been a number of deals his administration has brokered. Without those sponsorship deals, I believe the story would have been different. The administration has done extremely well. They have made a lot of investments for example in the area of recruitment. At the beginning of the season, we went for the right materials at a great cost; the same thing was done last season. These are good examples of a club administration that is working well.
KE: What are your thoughts on the team going into next season?
ON: I think with the firm management structures and a strong technical team, Coach Maxwell Konadu laid a good foundation. He instilled discipline into the team. He made sure that no player was indispensable. He had a good bench and therefore utilized the resources available to him well. Overall, he worked hard. It is good that Coach Didi, who will be taking over from him is working well with him. We may lose one or two players but with the support and direction from the Board and Management, there will be no cause for alarm. With the kind of work Maxwell Konadu did, Coach Didi will not have a problem. He watched some of our matches. He already knows where our lapses are. We only need to be a little patient. Cohesion will take a little time.
KE: So will there be a successful title defence?
ON: I believe so with the available structures. The defence of the Glo Premier League title is our priority. In fact it is our number one priority. We have a visionary Board and Management. The Bible says for lack of vision, my people perish. We have visionary leadership in Dr. Sarpong and the Board of Directors and the management members so the planning for next season has already started. The defence of the league title is important. Our participation in the Champions League is also important. The two cannot be separated. Assuming we do not excel in Africa next year, we will have to win the league to book the qualification ticket so the league title defence cannot be delinked from participation in Africa. We have to win the league and think of Africa. That is why the Africa committee has been in place, planning our programme for next season.
KE: Thank you for your time.
ON: It has been pleasure talking to you.
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