Five Things We Learned from Asante Kotoko’s victory over Dreams

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The new Porcupine Warriors coach drew praise this weekend for the tactical tweaks he made in his side’s ultimately 3-1 comeback win at Accra Sports Stadium and AshesGyamera.com’s editor-in-chief, Evans Gyamera-Antwi, has highlighted a lot of things which may define their season as a result

Asante Kotoko turned the game against Dreams FC on its head with three late goals to win 3-1 after the hosts had gone in front thanks to wonderful goal by young-budding talent Abdul Fatawu Issahaku but what does that mean to the club, supporters and opponents yet to play them?

Prosper Narteh Ogum knows his job

As soon as Kotoko parted ways with Portuguese coach Mariano Baretto despite guiding them to finish second last season, and appointed Prosper Narteh Ogum, talks began of an impending Premier League title challenge. Ogum’s tactical prowess at WAFA, where he led them to third place finish – their best ever in the top-flight -it signified that at least a new beginning is line and could be monumental.

Prosper Ogum in a wild jubilation with his players

The doctorate degree holder quickly offloaded 12 key players including the club’s former captain Felix Annan and his assistant Emmanuel Gyamfi and brought in new players in order to have control over the team.

It may be early days yet but anyone who watched the game against Dreams FC will attest to the fact that the players were committed to his stewardship. Everyone wanted to prove to him that he can be relied on.

Dubai pre-season tour may pay off

Kotoko for the first time in their history toured the middle east, specifically Dubai for their pre-season but there were many detractors. A lot of pundits argued that the decision to tour the Gulf region just to play in the local league was much Ado about nothing since the conditions there are different from Ghana.

Asante Kotoko players in Dubai

It even became worse when they failed to win any of their three friendly games played against lower division clubs. Some insisted that Prosper Ogum’s meticulously designed team shape was a little rigid to grind out results and further argued that it will be difficult for them to win away matches.

Surely those doubters may be checking their notes for a new set of excuses after Kotoko trekked from Kumasi to Accra to pick three points in a grand style. Ogum is obviously the new deal at the moment. He is gradually nailing the basic components of his side’s structure and mentally since that is was where Kotoko looked a bit stiff, prone to drawing against mid-table opposition throughout last season. The Dubai journey may be a good ‘buy’.

Kotoko have a solid future with the young players signed

Obviously, there will always be hue and cry whenever known faces of a club are suddenly no more, since it takes several months, if not days or weeks, to win the trust and confidence of die-hard supporters.

However, following the display of new players Isaac Oppong, Richmond Lamptey, Samuel Boateng and Dickson Afoakwa, Kotoko can be a force to reckon with this season should they continue and not slack later.

Kotoko players during pre-season

Prosper Ogum is one type of coach who constantly demands a hard press from his players as he doesn’t want opponents to have the luxury to dictate play. This means that he constantly wants them to minimise spaces between the lines when off the ball and with the new players who have arrived with an average age of 19, there are a lot of energy to he used for a high defensive line or pressing in order to force opponents into conceding possession long before they have the chance to build territory or launch counter-attacks.

This was evidential as Dreams were forced into their shells despite taking the lead and Kotoko capitalised on that to score three quick goals.

Richard Boadu ‘Agadas’ has to start as defensive midfielder over Mudasiru Salifu in away games

Mudasiru is a very intelligent player who has quick feet and can break down opponents’ bulwark defence with just one split-defence pass. However, he usually struggles when deployed into a holding role and has to rather destroy the build up of opponents because he is not physically strong and at times doesn’t see the impending danger.

Richard Boadu receiving instructions from Prosper Narteh

It was clear that any ‘proper’ defensive midfielder would’ve fouled Abdul Fatawu Issahaku in the game against Dreams before the youngster would go on to score the opening goal. However, Mudasiru was slow and didn’t realise that Issahaku poses danger and if allowed to go forward, it may be costly.

After the introduction of Richard Boadu as the defensive midfielder and Mudasiru pushed forward, one would admit that Kotoko became stabilised in midfield and that even led to the latter scoring the equaliser. Mudasiru is effective in offensive duties or when he is used alongside another defensive midfielder.

Kotoko must make Baba Yara Sports Stadium a fortress to win league title

Last season, Kotoko ended the league as one of the best travellers. Most of their points, especially in the first round were from away games and they have began the new season with an away win.

However, because they could not have the luxury to play in front of their fans at Baba Yara Sports and had to use Accra Sports Stadium and Len Clay Sports Stadium which belong to their rivals Hearts of Oak and Ashanti Gold respectively, things went bad.

Kotoko players line up for group picture

In the first round of last season, Kotoko won only three of their home games played in Accra – vs. Liberty, Inter Allies, Legon Cities- while they drew against Eleven Wonders and Hearts of Oak. Also, they lost to Great Olympics and Aduana Stars. Note that Kotoko defeated Bechem at home in the first round but that game was played during the second round at Len Clay since it was postponed

Meanwhile, in away games, Kotoko won four (vs. Dreams, Dwarfs, Karela, King Faisal), drew four games (vs. Chelsea, Medeama, WAFA, Ashanti Gold) and lost to only Elmina Sharks. That means that they amassed 16 points away and 11 points at home.

Therefore, should they improve in their home games in Kumasi this season, the club will be in a better position to win the league title after the first round.

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