CK Akunnor: Our Mourinho, Our Pricking Thorn!
Times are really gloomy in Kumasi and its metropolis, the fabulous family is sad and in agony. The birds are not singing. On matchdays; fufu and goat light soup are going down the gutters, cold drinks sweat in the chillers, adonko bitters and co remain on counters. Asante Kotoko FC is slowly and painfully sliding into a mess. The city is on its knees and weeping. Our darling club and the heartbeat of the city is retrogressing and gradually heading into the brick wall.
Jose Mourinho has relocated here and is toying with us, living in a posh suite on the top floor of Lowry Africa hotel, at a club cost of $1800 a night. No disrespect to Jose; the chap is a top coach of world class thou he seems to have lost his ways in modern man management and tactics. CK seems to be mirroring this fella and it’s worrying.
For our club coach to grant an interview and be excited about how an opposing team played so well against us, praising them and wishing his team can play that well, reminds me of Jose M praising Andy Robertson of Liverpool after such an embarrassing loss to their traditional rivals . He then conducts himself at the post match conference in a Mourinho style, ranting at a journalist and asking him to reason up.
The Ashgold coach has been there for barely two months, working with a team that has been inactive. You have been with us for three months and you are pleading for time. This is Asante Kotoko; we don’t preach patience to bide time when we feel it will not be rewarded. The kitchen is extremely hot and the Chef will have to cope and prepare a sumptuous meal and be spot on to dish us exciting football with the desired outcome.
However, if you find the heat unbearable, then hang your apron, kindly walk and gently shut the door behind you. We will receive you with a warm handshake, thank you and wish you well. We are a bunch of lovely people and will send you off with a beautiful card, signed by the playing body and staff, a goat, a bottle of cooking oil, corned beef and rice. Isn’t that nice of us? Don’t force Seidu and his squad to chuck you out of our training grounds, the Zdravco Lugarusic way. We are not for your team tinkering and poor performance. We will not tolerate this.
For Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay to be playing in a back three when your central defenders are fully fit is very much similar to Agyeman Badu and Kwame Bonsu in defensive midfield, Fatawu as a supporting striker, Antwi as a winger, Amos as a left back. We wait to see our goalkeeper Felix play as a striker. C K, please let’s do the simple things and get the basic things right.
Please avoid trying to force square pegs into round holes. Stop the unnecessary improvisation as this is unimpressive and unproductive. You inherited a very good side that had settled and played beautiful football, building up play from the back through midfield to attack. Roles were well defined and players knew their responsibilities on the pitch. Things were been done simply. This settled team under dubious officiating in a fully packed intimidating house in faraway Tanzania achieved a credible 1-1 draw. This team had a strong character, bags of stamina and confidence was soaring.
Yacouba was banging in the goals but somehow the goals have dried up under your watch. He has been marginalized and living on restricted service from midfield. Your team in Kenya was an eyesore to watch and failed to score in an empty stadium, deploying an uninspiring negative tactics, very much like Jose M. We all witnessed what nearly happened in Kumasi in the return leg. Your favored 4-2-3-1 system is played beautifully by Man City and a host of top European clubs. Your midfield is flat and highly disorganized, why?
With and without the ball, the lateral defenders and wingers don’t seem to support the holding two in the middle of the park quickly and gaping holes always pop up. Your trusted winger Emmanuel Gyamfi is an old fashioned touchline hugger, happy to demand the ball and blessed with pace and a natural inclination to run at opponents, ending with an awful cross. Can’t he go central more often as he did vs Ashgold which led to a goal?
Coming events cast their shadows and we are losing sleep over our trip to Cameroun. It’s not looking good at all. As a new coach with a different philosophy of how the game should be played, we welcome this. But at such a critical time when we are competing in Africa, this isn’t the right time for experimentation. Why are you making your job so hard? Why thirteen new players? All you have to do is to introduce one or two players to improve the team.
Rather, you are making irrelevant mass changes, with old players citing favoritism and bias. Where is Obed, Acquah, Jordan, Senanu, Boahene, Nyarko? For players to be verbally abusing each other on the team bus is a poor reflection of team management and a disgrace to the club. For some to feel undervalued and complain of not being spoken to at training grounds does not augur well for team bonding and spirit. This is unacceptable
Drawing on from the disgusting free kick incident between Baako and Yacouba in the Ashgold game, where is your authority? Have you lost hold of the dressing room? What kind of rapport have you built with the entire playing body? In what capacity has Gyamfi got to go and grab the ball from Yacouba and pass it on to Baako?
Please, Kindly drum into Gyamfi’s head that he ain’t the skipper nor star man of the team. Every top team has its poster boy and star boy. These are guys who have proven themselves over some time and are central to the success of the team. They are worshipped and adored by the teeming fans of their clubs. Thou shall not touch Ronaldo at Juve, Messi at Barcelona, Pogba at ManUtd, Neymar at PSG, Salah at Liverpool, Hazard at Chelsea, Greizmann at Atletico and Yacouba at Kotoko.
Please accept Yacouba is the axis of the team and play to suit him to shine. Poster boys of such big clubs are meant to be pampered to deliver. You clash with them at your own peril. Give Mourinho a call and find out what happened to him for taking on Hazard at Chlesea and Pogba at Man United. His P45 slip was nicely prepared and his office emptied within a twinkle of an eye, out through the doors of his office and into the wilderness of Setubal. Avoid a player mutiny and get them to believe in you and your tactics.
Wrapping up, if this problem of you bent on playing most of the newly signed thirteen players is from above, then we urge you to go beyond the scenes and resolve it as soon as possible. After matches, we have to be smiling on our way to enjoy our evening meals, washed down by refreshing chilled drinks and khebabs. This is how we have been raised down the years, spoilt fans that are used to celebrating victories. And should we lose, we want to see a strong performance and be convinced that the players fought hard for our shirt. Not some relaxed ducks enjoying a paddle in a pool.
The Asante Kotoko FC family wishes you and the team well in Cameroun. Please heed to this little advice and stop pricking our flesh with your thorny methods. Such pain does not excite us. Together we win.
Columnist: Joseph Nkrumah-Boateng