The villain-hero of Asante Kotoko's Ghana Premier League season

General Manager of Asante Kotoko Samuel Opoku Nti has been the villain and hero of the club's Ghana Premier League season, Muftawu Abdulai Nabila writes.


From on pitch performance to results, comical and ridiculous. It transcended to off the pitch too. David Duncan who was asked to step aside until further notice was adamant and reported to duty at Adako Jachie, but management swerved him -- taking the team with his assistant to the Baba Yara sports stadium.

The world saw the humorous side of the over Lord King of the Ashanti Kingdom Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II on that drama laden day when he paid the team a surprise visit at their training ground at the Adako Jachie field.

Fans were spewing their venom at management headed by their legend Samuel Opoku Nti, and Otumfuo in his meeting with the playing body and management said: "I went through the league table from the 1st to 5th without seeing my Kotoko, so I quizzed 'where is my Kotoko.”

The sound bite flew with the speed of light to the airwaves and it kept a smile on the faces of the Porcupine faithful despite the heart-aching times.

However, one man, who was accused of writing the script that reduced the team to a mere also-ran, sinking ship, impotent boring wasteful team that urgently needed treatment, Opoku Nti never saw the funny side of his employers words.

Some said it represented a sign of end time for the 'Lord of the green turf' and his team. However the decision that turned the team to a laughing stalk became a blessing. From bottom of the table in six matches to third place after the first round keeps their dream perfectly close barring a sequel of the early season ghost.

And the supporters who threw out thorns on the flesh of Opoku Nti have thanked Otumfuo for 'keeping faith' in the 1983 Champions League final goal poacher.

The 'devil turn angel' is a relived man. He believes the motor of the club kept him going despite the difficult hurdles the club encountered. According to him the best scientists who propounded theories never achieve their success without hitches.

"Before the season began we made it clear that our target is to win the league and go on to reach the group stages of the CAF Champions League.

"We started slowly but the down fall of a man is not the end of his life. The most important thing in life is for you to rise and fight back -- that's why we are 'kum apem a' apem b3ba' (if you kill thousand, thousand more shall come). We have been able to overcome that difficult period and we are on the right track in our quest to make our target a reality.

"Even the best scientists and founders of the things we see around us today fell on the way in the process of working to achieve success," he noted.

Asante Kotoko is regarded as one of the best clubs in the continent. They may not be among the best twenty clubs in the latest Africa club rankings, but their history cannot be over-looked.

When the Porcupine Warriors were dining with relegation, cynics never saw it as flash on the pan. They concluded the team will be relegated, but Opoku Nti believes the deep history of the club makes it immune to lose its premiership status.

His term of office will end this month, and he is uncertain of his future. But he is optimistic the record Premier League champions will achieve success either with or without him.

"Kotoko is a big club. A big club no one can even dream to see relegated. We are living to the expectations of the motor; either with me or without me, Asante Kotoko will survive and go to places. The only thing is that when you are given the opportunity to lead the club, you serve with all your might and be part of the success story when there is any.

"We are working to ensure that whatever happens, at the end of the season, we will be champions,” Opoku Nti said.


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