Sunday’s result was more a case of two points dropped than one gained for the Reds and it could prove their undoing in the long run
By: Sammie Frimpong
It may only have been two points dropped, and the opponents may have been no lesser than Hearts of Oak, but the repercussions of Asante Kotoko’s 1-1 draw at home in yesterday’s ‘Super Clash’ might just have sounded the death knell for the Porcupine Warriors’ title aspirations.
The gap between Kotoko and table-toppers Hearts remained as it was pre-match — still five points — yet by Matchday 21’s conclusion, one more side had slipped between the pair, pegging the former a place farther to 5th. Two of those clubs, Wa All Stars (2nd) and Medeama (4th), have one and two outstanding games respectively (they’d play each other once, in fact), and while these offer no guaranteed points, there’s a certain advantage they provide. All Stars will pull even with Hearts on points if they win their game with Medeama; however, should the Tarkwa-based outfit triumph instead, also picking the maximum points versus Techiman City, they will overtake the Phobians. And then there is Aduana Stars, licking up points at home as ruthlessly as they’ve always done and going an extra mile by outdoing their miserly selves to score for fun while at it. Don’t overlook, too, All Stars; Kwesi Nyantakyi’s club may have relinquished top spot to Hearts but, occupying the next-to-first spot, their dream for a first major piece of silverware remains very much alive.
All of those complications make Kotoko’s chances of chalking one more record-extending league conquest a lot less likely than they were before the showdown with Hearts. Underperforming at home (they’ve won just one match in Kumasi since the second round commenced) and faring even worse on the road (last week’s humiliation at Ebusua Dwarfs wouldn’t be forgotten in a hurry), it seems interim head coach Michael Osei — should he, at this rate, even last the full course of the season — is set to spend much of what remains of the campaign fighting fires than on pushing for the substantive role he’d hitherto seemed destined for. He would be required to turn the hoses full-blast on some of Kotoko’s next games, especially those against Dreams FC (pushing for a top quarter finish), Hasaacas and New Edubiase (battling relegation), and high-flying Aduana.
Sunday’s duel with Hearts was, in many ways, Kotoko’s season summed in 90 minutes; promising in the first half, underwhelming in the second. That said, Kotoko could still salvage something from the season, though only if they arrest the rot before it gets any worse, but it almost certainly wouldn’t be the big prize.