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Jerome Otchere writes: Kotoko in Africa: What next?

By Jerome Otchere
Opinion Kotoko Management members: L-R, David Obeng, Emmanuel Dasoberi and CEO, Nana Amponsah.
JUN 21, 2022 LISTEN
Kotoko Management members: L-R, David Obeng, Emmanuel Dasoberi and CEO, Nana Amponsah.

I was recently asked what I make of Asante Kotoko as the 2022/23 CAF Champions League beckons. My answer that I don’t expect too much wasn’t what my Kotoko pal who asked the question expected. I don’t anticipate anything big and it’s not a lack of faith. I only believe Kotoko doesn’t have what it takes to compete favourably in Africa.

That’s not to say the team shouldn’t compete at all. For years, I’ve disliked our approach to Africa. If that’s to continue, I’m afraid another disappointment looms. This was the premise of my Happy FM interview in which I opined that, there must be marked difference in our approach from now if we’re to make the desired Africa impact one day.

So, what next for Asante Kotoko? What happens to us in Africa? I don’t know Management’s plans but monitoring our Africa campaign over time, it all starts and ends with our plans and getting our fans to clearly understand those plans. We’ve often failed in getting this done and done well.

Everything wouldn’t be perfect but once our goals are clearly set; fans well informed, chances are, we’ll have the necessary support, underpinned by an understanding of Management or the club’s present difficulties in preparing for Africa. This is what I believe the Nana Yaw Amponsah-led Management should do. Talk up club’s plans well.

I can’t overstate this point. It’s not time for big Africa talk. It’s not the moment to make over ambitious promises – like vowing to do unprecedented things as said last season only for us to be eliminated in the preliminary round. It’s time to face realities and work.

Management’s task isn’t to put out everything on the difficulties associated with playing in Africa currently for a cash-strapped Ghanaian club like Kotoko. Theirs is to find solutions to those difficulties and within the context of the solutions found, make supporters aware as we get ready for Africa.

Nana Yaw Amponsah and his Management, to me, have proven to be firm in decision-making. That’s the new energy they’ve breathed into Kotoko administration. If they’re stay on that course with requisite financial support, for instance, for five to seven years, Kotoko would likely to dump the rags it worn on the managerial front.

I believe we’ve a good coach, who with time and more backing, will do great things. Mamelodi Sundowns’ case refers here. It wasn’t an easy ride at the start but Coach Pisto Mosimane spent almost eight years and exited, winning all prestigious titles on South African football soil plus the coveted CAF Champions League in 2016.

Ogum thus needs time. Kotoko doesn’t have Sundowns’ resources; and here, our Board must know that, there’s considerably assurance of sound management practices under Nana Yaw Amponsah but without money – that’s the oil to lubricate management plans and decisions, our Africa machine risks becoming rusty even before we hit the ground.

Then, again, we must see conquering Africa not as a one-off event but as a project, whose completion will happen in the course of time depending on available resources and how we plan. We must have money to recruit and retain quality players for instance overtime. If it’s the sale of high performing players, which’s inevitable, with equal replacement; Management must do so with strong conviction.

This is the wisdom former Executive Chairman, Dr. K. K. Sarpong advanced ten years ago yet he was hounded out by malevolent waves of ignorant fan and media criticism.

In Africa club football, strong financial muscle is vital. When your club hasn’t developed to the extent of generating massive revenue and maintaining its revenue streams, only financiers with bottomless pockets can save you. Who in Kotoko has that now?

Therefore, it’s time we looked at ourselves hard in the mirror, confront that which mitigates against a successful Africa campaign, in our own terms, find the antidote and set our objectives right and proceed on that path whipping fans in line.

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