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Desperate times demand desperate measures, thus when Kotoko were supposedly under the wrong track under a certain Zdravcko Lugarosic, he had to go. Some supporters, clearly bigger than the big club, demanded the sack of the gaffer. For them, Kotoko were not displaying the total football of Rinus Michel reminiscent of the Dutch national team of old or modern day academy graduates of La Masia.
How wise such a call has been just a few weeks down the line. I have struggled to comprehend why a manager who was brought in with just a few days to the commencement of the new season was expected to get his players playing like the Dream Team of Barcelona in the early ’90s when he barely knew the materials that were available to him. A club as ambitious as the Porcupine Warriors have very high standards and for any manager, results is the ish really. In that same breath, though, no sane manager, having had a look at the materials available to him would go gung-ho with such little time to prepare for a new season It was understandable for any sane fan that the gaffer adopted a defensive posture rather than an offensive posture to rack up a decent number of points for the first round of games and move into second gear along the line. The football Einsteins seem to have thought otherwise though.
Again, these same Einstens were all over the place telling the world that the two losses suffered by the Croat were under mysterious circumstances and there was no way Kotoko would have lost to Medeama and Hearts of Oak under fair circumstances. With all the farce that surrounded the club, from the locking up of the training venue to the physical threatening of the gaffer, I was honestly expecting Kotoko to be picking up wins like my late afternoon Brukina brunch and playing such scintillating football witnessed under the likes of Leo Beenhaker, Miroslav Blazevic, Vujadin Boskov, and co. Today’s Kotoko look out of sorts and out of ideas.
When you have some of these same fans descending on the so-called best GPL players and attributing their performances to day-old babies and playing like farmers, butchers and fishermen, when you have a manager who is completely at sea and literally giving up on live TV and radio, then you know something is terribly amiss. Whatever happened to the kum apem a, apem beba spirit? This ridiculous way of beefing up the squad with between 10-15 players every new season with questionable scouting practices and expecting some of these overhyped and returnee players from the world over to all of sudden play like Cryuff and Mazzola baffles my imagination.
It is sad to say that whereas our eternal rivals dealt with a similar situation with such tact, Kotoko chose to go completely towards the other direction. Why press the panic button with 19 points on the log and only four points behind league leaders WAFA and in third person? Juxtapose that to the 20 points, eighth position and nine points behind leaders WAFA and Aduana Stars and you are left scratching your head at the decision by management. Corporate managers are employed to show leadership in the face of very difficult challenges. I am not too sure if that of Kotoko was any different. You back a manager or an employee over a relatively “long” period before axing him or her. How Hearts of Oak would be teasing the Reds with this panic-button decision. Whereas they are in the form of their lives picking up win after win, Kotoko look completely out of sorts even against a relegation-threatened Great Olympics. That is how low the club has sunk in such a short time.
It is fair to say that diehard fans of any club the world over would stick with their clubs at very difficult times like this, but I am sure they would do so if they are confident that management decisions would also be prudent and not otherwise. I have heard former club executives call for support for the current administration and rightly so, but such panic decisions will not help, to be honest. I gather Berekum Chelsea’s Steve Pollack has been drafted in to stem the poor tide at the start of the second round. Now that is three managers before the end of the first round. Kotoko do all ampa! And can some of the club’s management members zip their mouths and allow the communications department to work? How often do we hear management members of the well-managed clubs the world over granting interviews? Some of them just love being heard too much.
A result against Tema Youth may just get some of the fanatics on their side but one needs no soothsayer to know that the club seriously needs to focus on stemming the tide before it gets worse.
Thanks for reading this piece.
The writer is Kwame Dwomoh-Agyemang, Sports Editor at Class 91.3FM, Accra. You can reach him on Twitter via @DwomohKwame and on Facebook at Kwame Dwomoh. You can also reach him by phone on 0244-623166.