This Saturday ahead of the GHALCA G6 final day on Sunday at the Babayara sports stadium I talk about the reasons why I think Asante Kotoko should fire acting head coach Michael Osei and replace him with a more cosmopolitan tactician.
Obviously I should be discussing the third place match of the G6 between Kotoko and Bechem United on Sunday but I deem it the right time to put together this piece after all Kotoko is not playing in the finals and the dear fans of the club are now looking forward to the new season under newly appointed executive board chairman Dr. Kwame Kyei.
In football coaches play an important role in a team’s success on and off the pitch and so almost any big big club today goes for a big coach or a coach with some aura – a coach with a track record or a coach with appreciable level of expertise. Coaches don’t kick the round ball in the game itself but they make things happen from their dug-out positions. Just look at Kenichi Yatsuhashi at Hearts of Oak. Look at Enos Adepah at All Stars. John Killa at WAFA.
Low Managerial Expertise
I will start by bringing to your attention some few examples at the four clubs that finish above Kotoko in the 2016 league- All Stars (1st), Aduana Stars (2nd), Hearts of Oak (3rd) and Medeama (4th) and bring that same sense of reasoning to the Asante Kotoko situation which is the main topic for this analysis.
The reason why Wa All Stars hired coach Enos Adepah for the 2015/16 season was thanks to his great work done at Division one side King Solomon finishing third in the 2014/15 Division One league. At King Solomon, Adepah is always credited for polishing many players including midfielder Samudeen Ibrahim who will go on to join giants Accra Hearts of Oak. Adepah did not only show that he is a good manager at King Solomon but his management of his players was super. He will go on to win the Ghana premier league with All Stars for 2016/17 etching his name in Ghana football history. The point I am trying to make here is that All Stars did not just appoint Enos Adepah for any reason but for his good work done in his previous job. You will agree with me that Adepah was better coach than Michael Osei last season.
When Aduana Stars parted ways with Nurudeen Ahmed last season they went in for their former experienced croatian coach Cioaba Aristica who took Aduana Stars from zero points to runners-up position at the end of the season. Massive job. Do not also forget that Aristica picked a league draw against Michale Osei’s Kotoko in Kumasi. Cioaba always better coach.
Hearts of Oak hired unknown Kenichi Yatsuhashi because the club had accepted the decline having gone 5 full seasons without winning the Ghana league – the end justifies the means. Judging Mr.Kenichi by his work at the Phobian club, he was a good tactician especially in away games – he was unbeaten in away league games and was 4th on the league table after the first round and that 3-2 win at Inter Allies, 2-0 win at Medeama, 1-0 away win at Berekum Chelsea and 2-1 win at Ashantigold are reference victories of Kenichi Yatsuhashi. His biggest problem was the poor home results – even lost to Michael Osei’s Kotoko in Accra but you cannot take anything from the Japanese. In fact I credit much of Hearts of Oak’s 3rd place finish in the 2016 league to Yatsuhashi.
Consider Medeama SC. They had Tom Strand who started their 2016 season until Prince Owusu replaced him following the former’s volatile attitude. Medeama still were unbeaten against Kotoko in two games in the league. David Duncan of Kotoko drew Tom Strand of Medeama in Kumasi. Prince Owusu of Medeama drew Michale Osei of Kotoko in Tarkwa and it is Medeama that finished the season better.
The game has evolved. Coaches have become more and more influential on a team’s performance in the game – it was obvious to see Enos Adepah’s imprint on the All Stars team, Hearts of Oak under Kenichi Yatsuhasi was all about the second half great energy of the Phobian boys – difficult to beat them on the road.
Asante Kotoko under Michael Osei went winless in five successive league games on two occasions. From week 18 to week 22 : 1-1 away draw at Inter Allies, home scoreless draw against Bechem United, 4-1 away loss at Dwarf, 1-1 home draw against Hearts of Oak and 2-1 away loss at Ne Edubiase United and then from week 25 to week 29 : 0-0 draw in Kumasi against Aduana Stars, 1-1 away draw at Hasaacas, 0-0 home draw to Berekum Chelsea, 1-1 away draw at Medeama and 5-3 away defeat at Ashantigold. Under former coach David Duncan who Michael Osei took over from – Asante Kotoko never traveled five successive games without a win under Duncan. But this happen twice under Michael Osei.
Again when you compare Asante Kotoko to Aduana Stars, Hearts of Oak and Medeama in the league last term there is one thing similar – all those clubs changed coaches. Aduana Stars changed coach as they parted ways with Nurudeen Ahmed and brought Aristica and finished second. Hearts of Oak used three coaches and still finished third. Medeama changed coach and still finished 4th above Kotoko.
Let me add that the 2016 season was one that Michael Osei was fully in charge more than his predecessor David Duncan – in the 30 matches Kotoko played in the league, Duncan was in charge for only the first 6 games and Michale Osei took over as interim head coach for the remaining 24 games (that is 80% of the 30 games). When you turn attention to the MTN FA Cup, Kotoko played 4 matches before being eliminated in the Quarterfinals against Bechem United – Duncan played one match in the Round of 64 against AK Shion and Kotoko advanced to the next round and Michael Osei was in charge for three games afterwards.In all competitions in 2016 (league and FA Cup), you are looking at 34 games and Michael Osei was in charge for 27 of those games. Be reminded that in pre season tournament Osei was largely involved as assistant coach – in fact he was the coach that won the GHALCA G6 in Takoradi back in January 2016.
Osei was assistant coach at New Edubiase United and at Kotoko he has had the opportunity to be assistant to Didi Dramani and Duncan but the coach who was a fine footballer has failed to convince many that he is the right pick for the Kotoko job when given he the opportunity.
Lack of playing opportunity for club’s young talents in the G6
Pre season is the time of the season to try new players, new systems and prepare for the upcoming season. At the becoming of last season young midfielder Kwasi Nti was promoted from the clubs’s U-20 side to the first team, talented Michael Yeboah was signed from Cornerstones. The progress of these young players is what is important and but not necessarily the competition for first team football. There is always Halipha Sedogo. None of these players despite training with the club and fit has not been named on the Kotoko bench let alone to get chance of playing some minutes in the ongoing GHALCA G6. Meanwhile Alex Acheampong who is on trials makes the Kotoko bench always in the G6 but Kwasi Nti, Michael Yeboah, Halipha Sedogo and Emmanuel Osei Carlos fail to make the Kotoko bench. This puzzles me.
Even for whatever reasons Kojo Poku – a product of Kotoko U20 side is on his way out of the club under the watch of Coach Micky as he is affectionately called which I believe he is still a good player to don the Kotoko jersey. Did Kojo decide to leave the club by himself? It has become obvious that coach Osei has not been able to show that he has good plans for these young players in his team this season.
Poor Player -management Skills : public brawl with player Samuel Kyere
A coach that cannot manage his players off-the pitch will certainly not be able to manage them on the pitch. We all know that the nature of the football game is such that players and their own coaches could clash at some points. Football club is like any other human institution – there would be clashes. Mario Balotelli vrs Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and Serge Aurier vs Laurent Blanc at PSG. These are few examples in which the coaches in the respective situations handled the issues masterfully thereby preventing escalation and this help my line of argument.
Player Samuel Kyere fell out with coach Michael Osei just before the close of last season and this led to the suspension of the player by the coach – a decision that I always supported. But after suspension what happens next? The bigger responsibility lies with the coach / manager to manage the situation well and to some extent to make the player more productive. This is one mark of a good coach and Michael Osei has not shown this quality.
The public brawl between Coach Osei and Kyere reached its nadir when Michale Osei granted an interview on Nhyira FM last Friday and alleged that Samuel Kyere sent an “abusive and horrible” text message to his (Michael Osei) phone. The coach has not even proven that it was Kyere that really sent him that said text message. It is a mere allegation and you do not come out with an allegation like that. You ought to prove things.
Well, granted it is true that Kyere sent the message indeed, instead for the coach to report the case to the team manager or the top hierarchy of the club he rather telephoned his own player Eric Ofori Antwi to inform him of the alleged Kyere text message. Is it Eric Ofori Antwi that will solve the problem between Michale Osei and Samuel Kyere? Certainly not.
This is another clear indication why Michael Osei cannot do the Kotoko job. He failed to handle the Samuel Kyere situation under the erstwhile Opoku Nti-led management. Now come to think of it. Under the new management of Kwame Kyei also, this same issue of Kyere has emerged with the coach running to the media like a 10-year old kid to make such allegation.
When a coach decide to resurrect an old player-coach confusion two days ahead of the club’s game against Bechem United , it raises several questions.
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