Kotoko retain Kofi Annan Cup
Kumasi Asante Kotoko on Wednesday beat arch-rivals King Faisal 2-1 to retain the Kofi Annan trophy they won last year in the maiden competition instituted in honour of Mr Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN).
But they won the match not without incidents as King Faisal played 47 minutes with 10 men, their dependable defender, Kwabena Poku having been sent off in the 43rd minute for rough play. The most serious incident was when Kotoko threatened to discontinue play after recess when coach Ernst Midendorf refusing to allow the players to come out of the dressing room.
His reason was that Faisal were being too physical and could therefore not risk sending his players to the field since Kotoko had a crucial champions of champions match against age-old rivals Hearts of Oak on Sunday. For 10 minutes, spectators were kept anxiously waiting and it took the intervention of Kotoko management led by the Chief Executive, Herbert Mensah to persuade the coach to rescind his decision.
The coach was proved right, for in the 72nd minute, Kotoko's new found striker Nana Arhin Duah was stretched off the field after being felled by a Faisal defender and could not continue play. Kotoko raced into a 16th minute lead through Arhin Duah who connected home Stephen Oduro's intelligent cross after a swift counter attack from the right.
Faisal accepted the challenge and launched a series of forays into the Kotoko area and earned a corner-kick in the 26th minute, which was taken by Ishaq Debrah. This created confusion in the Kotoko goal area and Dada Kwadwo blasted home the equaliser. From then on it became a ding-dong affair until the 43rd minute when Faisal's Kwabena Poku was sent off for a second bookable offence when he mowed down Godfred Yeboah.
However, Nana Arhin Duah restored Kotoko's lead in the 48th minute. He received a pass from Shilla Alhassan unmarked and he intelligently tapped the ball into the net. Mr Joe Aggrey, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports presented the cup to skipper Godwin Ablordey of Kotoko.