Asante Kotoko new coach Steve Pollacks says the Porcupine Warriors are ” the number-one team in Ghana” despite the club’s poor display in the Ghana Premier League first round.
According to the former Berekum Chelsea trainer he has seen some sign of positiveness in the team’s spirit adding that things wouldn’t be bad going into the second round of the Ghana Premier League unlike what transpired in the first round.
”I can feel the difference; the vibration and the positiveness in the team’s spirit. We will go out there and do our jobs and try to please the fans.” the English tactician told asantekotokosc.com in a A&Q interview.
Below are excerpts of Steve Pollack’s interview.
This your first trip with the team. Many of the fans waved at us while some also yelled at us on our way to Swedru. What do you make of the supporters’ reception?
Coaching is a job that I like doing. It is a challenge. Fans are the same all over the world. They are disappointed when things are not going well and happy when you are doing well. As a footballer and as a coach, you’ve to see over that and carry on with the job. If you think about it too much, then it disturbs you. It is my first trip and I was amazed to see the people. I do not understand your language so I did not hear what they said but I saw them wave. I do not really take notice of what people say to me. I do not want my players to do so either. If you want to approach my players, and me, do it in a right manner – not shouting or with an aggressive tone because will not answer if you do.
What does the reception tell you about the club and the situation you’ve walked into?
I don’t think we did well in the first 15 matches of the season considering the size of the team. We are the number-one team in Ghana. I was surprised, before I came, looking at where you are. But having been here roughly 12 days and had nine training sessions, I can say to the people out there that, I’ve noticed a difference in the team from what I saw when I watched the first training. I can feel the difference; the vibration and the positiveness in the team’s spirit. We will go out there and do our jobs and try to please the fans.
Does it also tell you how dear the club is to the fans?
Yes, it is a massive club. Its resolve is to be the best in Ghana but we can’t live on history. We have to make our new history with the Management, coaching staff, players and everybody involved. We have to bring together everyone, work together as one big family and take Kotoko back to where they belong.
Can we do that starting this year?
We will be taking it one game at a time and see where we will get to at the end of the season. Eleven points to the top is still catchable. Anything can happen in football. I don’t look at the table. My concentration is always on the next game.
Can you do that with the current squad because you didn’t assemble the players?
A coach recruits players in the pre-season to suit his philosophy. Now, did they bring the right players to him (the former head coach)? I don’t know. So when you come halfway into the season and after some number of games like this, then you have to find a system to suit the players who are already here. I will do just that. It would have been different if I came in the pre-season because then, I would have been able to say, I want this or that player depending on the strategy I want to play.
How responsive have your players been so far?
I am happy with their attitudes. I have told them to make my job difficult for me and not easy. I don’t want 18 regular players with the rest doing nothing. Talking to a couple of my backroom staff, they tell me they can see changes in discipline but that is not enough because I will be judged by my results at the end of the day. Personally, I will do my best. I hope that, my backroom staff also do the same.
A coach is only as good as his backroom staff. Hopefully, the players will also buy into the idea. I don’t have time. It would have been different if we were in the pre-season so the players must buy into the idea very quickly. At the moment, they are and I am very happy for that. The only way it could get better is to have time. The more time I have here, the better it will be.
How do you intend to achieve your target within your time constraint?
You were on the bus and you saw me had a one-on-one conversation with each of the players. I told them the roles and responsibilities I expect from them, as individuals, to help the team. Our first game is in the weekend. I did it with Chelsea. They played Tema Youth in their first game I watched and my first game here for Kotoko is against Tema Youth; what a coincidence. I watched that game. I had three training sessions with them and everyone saw that things changed. People asked how I did it and I told them I went back to the basics. So basics are where we are starting from and we will improve if we start from there.