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10.01.2005 Football News

Kotoko supporters blame head coach for defeat

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Kumasi, Jan 10, GNA - Supporters of Kumasi Asante Kotoko are calling for the sack of the head coach of the club, Hans-Dieter Schmidt, blaming the defeat of their idol club in Sunday's titanic CAF Confederation Cup final in Kumasi on the coach.

They contend that the coach should have learnt a lesson from the first leg match in Accra when Hearts levelled up soon after he made three substitutions including Charles Taylor and Michael Osei at the time Kotoko were leading by a lone goal.

The supporters said instead of the coach urging the strikers to fight for more goals, he rather pulled out the attackers and sent in midfielders with the intention of defending the lone goal and not quite long after the changes, Hearts got their equaliser.

On Sunday, coach Schmidt made the same mistake by pulling out Charles Taylor, Michael Osei and Nana Arhin Duah at a time Kotoko were leading by a lone goal.

They said these changes enabled Hearts to capitalise on the blunted striking power of Kotoko and surged forward to get the equaliser in the 80th minute.

One would have thought that coach Schmidt would have learnt a lesson from the first match but that was not to be. He again pulled out these strikers who could do damage to Hearts and therefore rendered the Kotoko attacking machinery blunt, they said.

"How can a coach worth his sort and desirous of winning a prestigious cup like the Confederation Cup blunt his attack in a very crucial game like this and expect to win?", they questioned. So painful was the defeat that a number of Kotoko faithful supporters soon after Michael Donkor scored Hearts winning goal in the penalty shoot out collapsed and had to be revived by medical personnel who had a real hectic time.

Those who could not bear this second humiliation in two years, with Kotoko loosing to WAC of Morocco in 2002 at the same Kumasi Stadium in the then Cup Winners Cup final removed their paraphernalia and burned them openly.

Many were those who also swore never to watch any Kotoko match again since they contended some of them might lose their lives from heart failures at such crucial matches.

Hearts beat Kotoko 8-7 on penalties after a 1-1 drawn game at regulation time to bring the final score to 9-8 in Kumasi on Sunday.

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