Kotoko coach David Duncan’s head might rest easy for now, but
his employers may just be biding their time to swing the big ol’ axe
unless he sparks an immediate turnaround
It simply hasn’t been the kind of commencement to 2016 Ghana Premier
League business fans of Kumasi Asante Kotoko anticipated, has it?
As things stand, the horrifying reality of their beloved club playing
catch-up with everyone else — including lately depressed archrivals
Hearts of Oak who are suddenly cruising high on a space-bound Japanese
shuttle and a sushi-rich diet — is a situation they need to get
accustomed to or, preferably, recover from fast.
Four games into the new season and Kotoko have picked just two points,
both coming at home to Ashantigold and Medeama, teams the Porcupine
Warriors had good motive to be at their best against after finishing
runner-up to the pair in the league and FA Cup respectively last year,
losing the other two fixtures 2-0 on the road at WAFA [on opening day]
and, only last Sunday, Berekum Chelsea.
It’s a mess that’s left everyone pretty much distraught: frantic
supporters wondering when the rot would be halted, players inclined to
doubt their ability to pull through and emerge from the cloak of
mediocrity as the trend’s worsened, head coach David Duncan worried as
much over his side’s form as about his own future in the Garden City,
while management and the Board — and, by extension, the
powers-that-be at Manhyia — ponder what move to make after the next
Following the latest setback, however, all aforementioned stakeholders
apparently couldn’t brood independently anymore. Those frustrations
and cares had to be shared and a solution found in the spirit of the
collective, thus Monday’s crisis meeting. In an atmosphere described
as “friendly” by the club’s official website, each party raised their
concerns and threw equally earnest hopes over them.
“At the end of proceedings,” an article on asantekotokosc.com reveals,
“there was unanimity that the team has no option than to win their
matches to restore supporters’ confidence.
“While management reinforced its pledge provide everything needed
ensure good performance and victory, the players promised to dig deep
into themselves and give their very best from the next game. The
technical team also vowed to go beyond the extra mile to produce
And that revival would have to commence no later than Friday, when
Ghana’s most successful side crosses swords with westerners Sekondi
Hasaacas in Kumasi. Nothing but the maximum three points — Kotoko’s
first of an increasingly difficult term — would suffice and, although
the Reds’ Communications Manager Kwaku Ahenkorah insists coach
Duncan’s future isn’t yet up for discussion, an underwhelming outing
versus Hasaacas could prompt a revision of that stance and mark the
beginning of the end for the tough-talking boss.
A campaign that promised so much, given Kotoko’s inspiring pre-season
form and heavy transfer activity, and which had been billed to yield
Duncan’s first major title threatens to blow up into smithereens —
and the technical head could be first to pay for it, with similar
circumstances last year leading to the dismissal of Mas-Ud Didi
Dramani and Duncan’s subsequent appointment. But while that similarly
awful beginning to 2015 eventually got turned around and had the club
finish second, any revival this time would have to produce much more.
Put simply, Kotoko — and Duncan, the most vulnerable of potential
fall guys should this go further southward, needless to say — cannot
afford to plunge any deeper if, indeed, as is often claimed by the
proud Akan people, humiliation never is their portion.