I attended the post-match press conference of the Kotoko 1 Berekum Chelsea 1 game during Week 9 of the Ghana premier league where Paa Kwesi Fabin spoke to the media.
Fabin was honest and told the media in the packed-room that he has added little to the Kotoko team he inherited from Steven Polack. He did not give details about that little addition he’s made to the team but that is not even relevant because what is little remains as such.
“Honestly I have added very little to the team. I just took over and its not been long. Even I don’t think Pep Guardiola can do it in 4 months. I’m not a magician” He said.
For me this is one way to say ” I cannot do the job. Take it from me.” and the Hearts of Oak defeat exposed – not for the first time – the technical weakness of the former Hearts of Oak and Heart of Lions coach.
It is true that when the name of Fabin was mentioned as the new Kotoko coach opinion divided with majority against this decision. That when Steven Polack is sacked, a much better coach should replace him and I am pat of those that made that argument – and still remain on this opinion.
The inconsistencies in his starting line-ups and the lack of major impacts of his substitutions have made his team ordinary.
For instance in the Hearts of Oak loss, his first substitution of introducing Obed Owusu for Emmanuel Gyamfi had no positive impact on Kotoko, rather it killed their threat on the right side as Gyamfi occasionally provided that spark down the flanks for the team. Also the 90th minute introduction of striker Yakubu Mohammed for Frederick Boateng was just pointless. If truly the coach was serious about equalizing the goal Yakubu should have taken the place of the tired Yacouba Songne or Fred much earlier than bringing him on at stoppage time when the game is virtually already lost. That is pointless change he did for me.
After ten games Kotoko are yet to still find regularity in terms of the play and results. The club has now scored 8 goals and conceded 8 under Fabin and the team is yet to win two games in a row. How can a team that is struggling to pick 6 points on the trot win the league? Ten games represent one-third of the total matches a club has to negotiate in the league season and it is enough to get your team playing regular, consistent and good soccer with results and so to say that you’ve added little to what you inherited is another way to say you cannot do the job.
Medeama, Ashantigold, WAFA, Hearts of Oak all have won at least games in succession this term but not Fabin’s Kotoko.
The 4-4-2 long balls never worked against Berekum Chelsea and against Hearts of Oak it was the same plan. Where is the technical direction?
Fabin has not won any games this season in which his team conceded first – against WAFA (equalized to draw 1-1), Medeama (lost 1-0), Ashgold (lost 2-0), Dreams FC (lost 1-0), Berekum Chelsea (equalized to draw 1-1) and the latest against Hearts of Oak (lost 1-0). It is in adversities that we know what big sides and stronger teams are made up but Kotoko of Fabin haven’t shown a single character when they are down.
Coaching clubs like Bechem United, Elmina Sharks is one thing but coaching Kotoko is another thing. When you are the coach of a big club like Kotoko, you give your employers reasons to remove you from office when you start losing games at home to your biggest soccer enemies and somebody like Fabin knows this even better.
In the 2010/11 season that Fabin led Kotoko in the league he was fired after drawing a Week 24 home game against Heart of Lions but what really served as catalyst to his sacking was the Week 22 home defeat in the hands of Hearts of Oak.
It is also true that Fabin would be the least surprised if he is sacked from his job today because he’s been in these situations before but to be sacked twice in two separate stints under different club management and playing bodies spoils the reputation of Fabin and raises more questions about his technical abilities to lead big soccer institutions like Asante Kotoko.
Kwame Kyei has hired and fired two main coaches (Lugarusic and Steven Polack) since he became chairman of the club and it appears as if Fabin will be the next to be shown the exit door.