David Duncan and Kotoko: Marriage made in heaven?

David Duncan during his unveiling ceremony

David Duncan during his unveiling ceremony

By Benjamin Nketia
Call him confident,call him an arrogant snob and all the names you can come up with but one thing is clear, new head coach of Asante Kotoko David Duncan is one of the few top tier active managers left in the country.For a man who is still yet to win major silverware with the several clubs he has taken charge of the management of Asante Kotoko found his tactical prowess,professionalism and discipline too powerful a lure to turn down.

A new beginning
A convincing 1-3 away victory at Bechem United in his first game in charge not only lifts Kotoko out of the relegation zone but also means that they finally record a win after a barren six game spell and for the first time this season manage to find the back of the net three times in one game.

His arrival appears a timely one as players who appeared to have had their heads in the clouds including Jordan Opoku and Ahmed Toure will now sit up and justify the high wages they are earning.One of the things he doesn’t get enough credit for is his ability to get the best out of players.For most part, his persona and work ethic have been enough to get players to raise their game but his man management skills will be tested immensely both with his playing body,the management and supporters of the club.

Just like all soccer fans around the world Kotoko fans are extremely passionate and will demand to see their team play good football while churning out good results regularly.Fail to do this and the Ashanti regional capital will be too small to contain the vociferous fans of Ghana’s biggest club side and the ego of one of the nations brightest coaches.

The same fans who vowed to have Duncan’s head on a silver platter due to his utterances while in charge of rivals Accra Hearts of Oak are the same ones who have jumped on the bandwagon now that  a fresh wave of optimism is blowing around the club.

The bar is set
A debut win is a good way to kick start your career in the most volatile coaching role in the country but for David Duncan the time to take his career to the next level is now, as he currently has the best players available on the local scene at his disposal.The achievements of his predecessor Didi Dramani will not help matters as there are still those fans  who feel that after winning back to back league titles  and an FA Cup trophy his dismissal was unfair and uncalled for.

Former Asante Kotoko coach Mas-Ud Dramani
Kotoko coach Masud Dramani
He will be under more media scrutiny than he has ever experienced in his career and for the nomadic coach the moment could not be better to make the jump from a manager who is adept at competing for the title to one who actually knows how to deliver one.

He himself has vowed to break new ground in his new position.

“I have never been introduced like this in all my coaching life even though I have been appointed by big clubs like this.

“I have to work like I have never done before,”he told the media and some fans who were present at his unveiling ceremony.

Regardless of the state the team currently finds itself in, he will be expected to at least compete for the league title when all is said and done.In the Caf Champions League the legend is that his mere presence on the technical bench when Kotoko traveled  to Algeria to play MC Eulma provided a positive buzz and an urge to impress from the players which culminated in a goalless draw which looked like a far fetched result weeks before his appointment.

The expectations
The factors that have led to Kotoko’s failure in  continental competitions in recent times have been discussed and digested  severally and for Duncan a place in the group stages should be his minimum objective despite joining the season midway.

Players celebrating with newly appointed Kotoko David Duncan

Fans must desist from expecting instant success as this will not only put unnecessary pressure on the coach but the players as well.

This season will serve as his orientation with the club where the seeds for the philosophy he intends to grow will be planted.I haven’t received classified information concerning his pay check  from any quarters but from the grin on his face during his unveiling its safe to guess that that his trips to the bank will be worth looking forward to at the end of every month.

Lastly he must be vigilant to a number of threats that exist at a club like Kotoko including granting interviews to journalists, keeping a tight lid on the happenings of his dressing room and reacting to the sentiments of the supporters of the club.

The Kotoko job has been likened  to drinking from a poisonous chalice but can Duncan the nomad finally find a home in Kumasi or will he be a victim of the unbridled Kotoko guillotine

For more Ghana football news visit www.ghanasoccernet.com

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