Asante Kotoko’s 25 years under Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Spread the love

WhatsApp Image 2023 09 28 at 13.07.10
Asante Kotoko

In the week of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s silver jubilee anniversary celebrations, a team lined up at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
The occasion was the semi-final of the CAF Confederation Cup.
Among the capacity crowd, were fans of Asante Kotoko. Kumasi was hosting one of the biggest games on the CAF calendar. It was fitting.

Except this was not his team. This was Dreams FC; a product of a petty squabble between Alhaji Bimbo, Jiji Alifoe, and Kurt Okraku in 2009. Wannabe greats who have challenged the status quo in just 15 years of existence.
On the Saturday before the match, twelve football clubs in the elite division were asked to play their league matches, in order not to – and I am being cynical, I know – be a distraction. Asante Kotoko was one of them.
1999, When the Otumfuor Osei Tutu II was enstooled in 1999, Kotoko were experiencing their worst league drought in history. Kotoko’s rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Obuasi Goldfields had shared the last six league titles between them. Apart from a 1-0 win over Real Tamale United in the FA Cup final in 1997, Kotoko won nothing worth mentioning.
Beyond the performances, the B.K Edusei board – and in effect, the S.S Appiah management, was accused of mismanaging the club’s assets.
Thus Otumfuor inherited a club in desperate need of sporting success and perhaps more importantly, a deviation from the obsolete management practices to a more futuristic, sustainable structure.
In the 25 years that followed, Kotoko won seven league titles and three FA Cups. On the continent, Kotoko suffered two heartbreaking final losses; a Cup Winner’s Cup loss to Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco in 2002, and three years later, the inaugural CAF Confederation Cup to Hearts of Oak.

Kotoko’s Yusif Chibsah takes instructions from head coach Hans Dieter Schmidt and Paa Kwesi Fabin, then Youth team coach
Kotoko has won the same number of league titles as rivals Hearts of Oak despite the latter enduring a league drought between 2009 and 2021.
That is explained by Kotoko’s eight-year drought – 2014 to 2022. In the FA Cup, only Hearts of Oak have won more titles in that time – four.
Beyond the Cup final heartbreaks, there are not a lot of questions to answer on the field of play. The problems lie elsewhere.
When the Asantehene began his reign in 1999, one of the first things he did was to suspend the Kotoko constitution. Among many things, the constitution spelled out the composition of the board. It gave power to other constituent bodies like the Asante Kotoko Old Player’s Association (AKOPA), Kotoko Circles, etc.
These groups had slots on the board and had the liberty to choose who would represent their interests on the board. It made their elected officials answerable to them and not to any outside power.
When the constitution was suspended, things changed. Although successive boards and management teams have continued the tradition, these appointments are no longer done by the constituent bodies. More often than not, they are direct appointments from Manhyia or the existing management/board.
That explains their willingness over the years, to advance the course of entities other than their groups. It is also how the checks and balances provided by these constituent bodies died a natural death.
Suspending the club’s constitution in itself is not Kotoko’s biggest problem. Not really.
It is the structure that replaced it. Or the lack of it.

The revolutionary Herbert Mensah was the Asantehene’s first managerial appointment
Kotoko has shuttled through interim management teams, substantive boards, and Executive Chairmen who were asked to form their boards, and at one point, flirted with the idea of having a club president. Remember the Sammy Kuffour saga? Yeah. That one.
The common denominator here is money. The majority of the men who have run the club over the years have been accomplished folks from different backgrounds but with a lot of money.
Curiously, Kotoko is still not a self-sustaining club. It has relied mostly on the deep pockets of its board members. Otherwise, Manhyia intervenes in times of crisis to settle salaries and debts. Nothing transformational.
The amazing thing is that none of these board members get refunds for the money they spend on the club. The amounts are not converted into equity either. Kotoko is essentially run on the benevolence of accomplished businessmen who revere the Asantehene enough to be sinking money into his business.
Worryingly, the Asantehene seems inexplicably reluctant to invest in any long-term project for the club or even to raise assets. Once in a while, he intervenes to clear outstanding salaries and debts when they become public knowledge.
But funding for projects like the club’s training complex at Adako Jachie, simply does not exist. To date, Kotoko is still without a properly functioning youth side. It is not because they do not want to.
But over time, they have realized that the cost of maintaining tens of scouts, infrastructure to accommodate, feed and train over one hundred kids, and pay utility, would cripple the club. Not to talk of coaches and auxiliary staff for a modern youth team.

Otumfour’s visit in 2023 was expected to be the catalyst for the Adako Jachie project
Football, like any other industry, requires patience, commitment, resources, and sound management practices. For 25 years, Kotoko has been run without any of these. Not one.
The lack of patience and commitment to any course is quite puzzling. For a club that runs on benevolence, you would have thought they would be patient with their benefactors. Not Kotoko. After a year or two, regimes are ended on the back of spurious allegations.
Of the Asantehene’s appointees, the Dr. Kwame Kyei-led board is perhaps the only one to have enjoyed two uninterrupted terms. Everyone else has been hounded out after one term, curtailing any progress the club may be making. There is no room to learn from experiences to improve either.
It perhaps explains the inertia towards any long-term project, by successive leadership.
An annoying feature of this vicious cycle is the periodic mudslinging exercise, engineered to hound them officials out of office. Each administration exits amidst spurious allegations of corruption. Journalists have often been blamed for spreading such narratives.
I am not properly educated on Ashanti traditions and protocols at Manhyia. But even I know that it would be foolish to suggest that the Asantehene sacks or retains his appointees based on radio gossip. It is impossible.
If he has relieved any management or board of their duties, it is because, in his infinite wisdom, Otumfour Osei Tutu II believed the club would be better off without their services.
Regardless, his inability to provide security of tenure has not been very helpful.
Kotoko has become a poorly funded, trigger-happy institution that self-destructs at each turn.
It is instructive to note that in 25 years Kotoko has had a semblance of a professional institution on three occasions; under the Herbert Mensah, K.K Sarpong, and Nana Yaw Amponsah managements. Each of those came nine years apart, at least.
For the most part, the club has been run with very different philosophies and personalities. Sometimes, like the late P.V. Obeng and Herbert Mensah’s fallout in the early 2000s, the personalities clash to the detriment of the club.
The current management, an IMC, was constituted over a year ago and has a team of four; Dr. Prosper Narteh – current head coach and management member, Emmanuel Newton-Dasoberi – Administrative Manager, Kwasi Appiah – Technical Director and Nana Akwasi Awua Apinkra. Kwasi Appiah has since been hired as the head coach of the Sudanese national team. Of course with the Asantehene’s blessings. Dasoberi, per his own admission – in an interview with Kessben TV in March, stated that he combines the Kotoko job with his consultancy at CAF and often spends his time, gallivanting across the continent. For the most part. Ogum acts as the only football official at the club.

Kotoko’s IMC when they met the Asantehene in Manhyia last year
That is the current state of affairs at Kotoko. Little surprise therefore, that they have been eliminated from the FA Cup and are in 10th place on the league table, 12 points behind leaders Samartex 1996. They are set to have their 11th season without a major trophy in the Otumfuor Osei Tutu II era.
Dreams FC’s CAF campaign ended at the semi-final stage. They lost to Zamalek, a team Kotoko believes are their equals. Yet, these days, Kotoko sits at home whiles others go to war with the Zamalek’s, and Al-Ahly’s of this world.
Until there is a paradigm shift, there is a real possibility that this may not be the last time Kotoko is reduced to witnesses as Dreams FC or other clubs attain greatness on their home turf.

Source link

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Comodo SSL