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26.01.2006 Football News

Faisal signs coach Zito


Accra, Jan 26, GNA - Premier league campaigners, Kumasi King Faisal has signed on Abdul Karim Zito as the new coach of the Club for the 2006 soccer season.

Coach Karim Zito takes over from Francis Oti Akenten, who has now pitched camp with Accra Hearts of Oak.

The new coach who was introduced at a brief ceremony in Accra on Wednesday, has been given two major targets to fulfil before he would be considered for another term of office. He has been tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the Club remains among the best four clubs in the league at the end of the season.

Again, the coach is to ensure that the club qualifies for the money zone of the continental competition.

Mr George Amoako, Chief Executive Officer of King Fisal said that even though the targets given the coach are difficult ones, they believe in his ability to deliver.

He said that management would therefore provide the coach with all the necessary support to ensure that the set targets are met at the end of the year.

Mr Amoako added that the coach would be given a free hand in the dispensation of his duties, adding that there will not be any form of pressure or interference on him.

He however explained that the targets given the coach are just modalities that will be used to assess his performance at the end of the season while other factors will also be considered. Mr Amoako however failed to disclose the financial details of the contract, saying "what we have offered is substantial enough to make life comfortable for him".

"I also don't think the coach will be happy with the disclosure of his benefits to the public", Mr Amoako stated.

Aside the huge responsibility, the 45-year-old, Karim Zito is confronted with the responsibility of finding replacements for some key players who have left the Club.

Influential defender, Shilla Illiasu has moved camp to Kumasi Asante Kotoko with Prince Antwi signing for Obuasi Ashgold.

Hard running striker Eric Gawu and defender Iddrissu Yayaha are also on the verge of signing for Accra Hearts of Oak.

Coach Zito said he is however undaunted by the situation, because he believes new players can be developed to serve as suitable replacements for the lost ones.

The coach described his new job as a great opportunity to prove his worth after guiding Kotoko in the greater part of the 2005 soccer season, which eventually saw the 'Porcupine Warriors' winning the league title. Coach Zito said, "even though I had a lot of offers from Ghana and some clubs outside the country, I opted for Faisal because the task at Faisal offers me the challenge to prove my worth as a top notch coach". Asked whether he would be able to work with tough talking and 'controversial Alhaji Abdul Karim Gruzah, the founder and chairman of Faisal, coach Zito said he had psyched himself up to face every challenge that comes his way and assured all that his stay with Faisal will be a very successful one.

"But I believe I will be able to work everywhere if I'm able to work successfully with Alhaji Gruzah", coach Zito declared. Coach Zito had his playing days with GIHOC Stars, Juantex, Kotoko and Kumapim Stars.

He was among the Kotoko squad that won the Africa Cup Club Championship in 1982 as well as the 1985 squad that placed second before ending his local career ended with Kumapim Stars.

Zito also had two years of his professional coaching career with Dragons FC of Benin, which ended in 1988.

The coach played as a lateral defender throughout his football career.

His coaching career has seen him guide Kumapim Stars to the then Division One League and later on qualified Kwaebibrem United to the premiership in 1998-99.

At the Feyenoord Academy, the coach led the Under-19 side to win a youth tournament before joining the technical bench of Kotoko as the assistant coach to Malik Jabir.

Coach Zito later on took over as the stand-in coach when coach Malik was relieved of his duties.

He is credited with winning three of the seven trophies the league champions won last year.

His stay with Kotoko rather ended on a sour note as he was also relieved of his duty on his return from hospital after an encounter with armed robbers who nearly caused his death.

Coach Zito had his left wrist almost chopped off by mobile phone snatchers in Accra, when his former team, Kotoko were then in Accra to play archrivals Accra Hearts of Oak and spent several months in hospital.

Coach Zito in an interview with the GNA Sports described the incident as an encounter with death. "I never knew I will ever return to life but I thank my God for all that he has done for me". 26 Jan 05