Mas-Ud Didi Dramani’s sacking: Were Asante Kotoko justified ?

Mas-Ud Dramani

Mas-Ud Dramani

Riddle, riddle! … In which job are you hired to be fired! Anybody? Well, don’t stretch your mind too far… its coaching of course! One job I like to avoid like “dumsor”. It is the reason I have great respect for those who take on coaching, a career where you are only as good as your last game.

One person who would definitely know about the volatility of the coaching world is Didi Dramani.

The former Kotoko coach was seemingly been forced out via compulsory leave. How is it that a coach, who won 5 trophies in two seasons, be considered unworthy to continue after only 7 games into the new season? Well, that’s pretty much how life is in “Coach-ville” and even worse in “Porcupine-dom”.

Kotoko’s coaching job is a high pressure cooker and most often than not, coaches are kicked out even before they can get out voluntarily. So, if Dramani got the results, why did he lose his job and were Kotoko justified? How did a love story, so sweet, turn so sour? Let’s take a trip down divorce lane…

Can I have your number?
Didi Dramani is a coach you would love to talk to: He has deep insights into the game and is well versed in technical matters on the field. If coaching was all about tactics, Didi is your ‘go guy’. A descendant of Tamale, Didi followed his dreams and played senior football for Real Tamale United, rising to captain before he called time in 2000. Ever the academic, Didi enrolled at University of Education in Winneba, studying Physical Education, with coaching as his major.

Didi then went on a splurge, participating in several coaching courses with CAF and the German Football Association (DFB). Didi, now 48 years, is a CAF Senior Coaches Instructor and Assessor, as well as a DFB license B holder (an equivalent of UEFA’s license B).

Before going into mainstream coaching, he formed Guan United, basically to test his coaching skills, until he was appointed as Black Queens’ assistant coach in 2009. Concurrently, Didi also worked as a coach educator at the Right to Dream Academy.

Didi’s time to shine however came in 2012 when he guided the women’s national U-17 team, the Black Maidens, to win bronze at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup  in  Azerbaijan . Like an attractive woman, these credentials caught Kotoko’s interest and after wooing Didi for a while, he gave Kotoko his number, eventually taking up appointment as head coach in October 2012.

You aren’t as hot as before
Like all romantic relationships, the honeymoon period is sweet. Love is in the air! Didi became a darling as he won the 2012/2013 Ghana premiership in his rookie season. But in the course of that season, the first signs of disaffection sprung up.

Kotoko drew a lot of games (14 in all, 12 of them under Didi) and the dissenting voices grew. “He is a women’s coach” was one of the many sticks Didi took. But he negotiated that season till Kotoko landed the title and repeated the feat in the 2013/2014 season. He topped those back-to-back premiership titles with an FA Cup and 2 super cup trophies. Impressive you would say,… but Kotoko fans aren’t easily pleased with national titles.

Didi’s seeming failure to advance in the CAF Champions league, losing to unheralded sides like JSM Béjaïa of Algeria and BYC of Liberia, lost him a lot of fufu points in the porcupine’s mortar. But Kotoko fans lived with the Champions League failure, hoping for improvement in this year’s edition. Yes they tried to live with it, until Kotoko were beaten by bitter rivals Hearts of Oak in the seven week old league.

That was difficult for the supporters to take and Didi’s sins continued to grow as his tactical decisions didn’t go down well with the rank of the club. He was questioned for his choices in defense; for instance why did he play Amos Frimpong at right back when Atta Kusi could have filled in and freed up Frimpong to partner Abeiku Ainooson or even new signing Ahmed Adams. These happenings conspired to derail the marriage between Didi and Kotoko, leaving the latter to initiate divorce.

There’s a hottie next door
While the management of Kotoko were busy initiating divorce proceedings, they also turned their attention on David Duncan, ex Hearts of Oak coach. Isn’t it interesting how one minute a coach is considered not good enough by one team, but yet within the next minute is coveted by a rival club?

This demonstrates that competency in coaching has a broader definition than only the technical elements. Competency also involves ‘man’ management skills to steer cordial and working relationships with players, management and fans.

While Didi may have experienced a down time prior to his sacking, there are also questions to be asked of the functionality of the current makeshift management structure of the club which indirectly affects performance on the field. It is alleged that Opoku Nti who is the General Manager has struggled to run the club due to lack of support from the board.

Indeed, when clubs experience a dry patch, a scape goat is always sought after. Didi is obviously the easy target, but in the larger scheme of things Kotoko should also ask if the incredible turnover of coaches, averaging a coach per year since 2000 has brought it the CAF Champions League the club so badly thirsts for. Is Didi competent? Yes! Did he go through a rough patch? Yes! But who hasn’t? Even Louis Van Gaal and the like go through it. There will always be a hottie next door, but it’s focusing on your marriage and making it work that will produce results in the long run. Make what you want of his sacking, but Didi needs not to worry, because in football, you can also get fired to be hired!

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