Citi Sports editor Nathan Quao returns with his column and this week, he takes a quizzical look at Asante Kotoko axing of head coach Zdravko Lugarusic, Chelsea and Spurs’ contest in the Premier League and new triple double king of the NBA, Russell Westbrook.
Lugarusic ‘guillotined’ by Kotoko
After playing 11 matches in the Ghana Premier League and placing second place on the league table, Asante Kotoko decided it was time for the ‘union’ with Croat coach Zdravko Lugarusic to come to an end.
I was stunned but at the same time, I was not surprised at all. The Porcupine Warriors enjoy reprising roles as a team which loves chaos. It may sound harsh and uncharitable but if these things have happened consistently over the last three seasons, one can safely say that it is part of the team’s character.
The latest episode played out in very similar fashion to the ones from years gone by.
Fan unhappiness, training disruptions, a bad match and the plug is pulled.
Of course, fans have every right to ask for good results and good performances. They pay to watch the team and so, they need to be satisfied, but what happened to supporting the coach and the people who have trusted with your team?
Do they not deserve to be given time to diagnose the problems and then proceed to find a cure?
Masud Dramani, David Duncan, and Michael Osei were jettisoned because the fans were unhappy and now, Lugarusic is the latest name to that ‘roll of honour’.
So who is to blame? Everyone.
The fans are guilty of not being patient with the coach who was employed just before the league season started.
The results were not good but instead of looking for daggers to draw at the coach, it was perhaps time to pause and ask if the team was really that good and whether the rest of the league had improved.
The management is culpable for not letting fans know that there was no need to have very lofty expectations. The gaffer had just been brought in and he and the players would have to find chemistry. Some will say eleven games are enough to get a coach to see where his team is headed but sometimes, teams need longer periods to gel.
Maybe Lugarusic was to be given some more time to chart his path.
Lugarusic himself set up this divorce and he has paid the ultimate price.
I wonder why he did not often set the team to play on the front foot in their matches. How were they ever going to win games when the unit had 7 defenders starting?
In football, teams make their own luck and the Porcupine Warriors had every right to go and win matches. They had a very experienced forward in Yakubu Mohammed and so, there was the need to play to his strengths.
He could have guided the team to play well even when the results were absent and with time, the chips would have fallen for them but he chose to do things differently and he is now jobless.
It is all gone now and the team will have to find a new substantive head coach and maybe go on this roller coaster again.
War of London for Premier League glory
After following the weekend’s Premier League coverage (which was live on Citi 97.3 FM), I was really impressed with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
The teams have a championship winning vibes about them and they showed it in their respective matches.
Spurs made their own luck against Watford and they were brilliant at it. They did not show any sign of weaknesses in Harry Kane’s absence (he was on the bench after returning from an ankle injury). Dele Alli was very good on the day and in fact, for a large part of the season but my takeaway was Son Heung Min’s display.
His running was good but his hunger for goals is very remarkable. He got two goals and he was visibly disappointed when he had to exit the game without adding more goals.
For me, that is a huge feature for a player to have. It only means that he will demand a lot more from his team and that is what Spurs need if they will run Chelsea to the very end of the season.
Chelsea were lovely in their 3-1 win at Bournemouth but unlike Spurs, who took time to get their goals, the Blues went for the kill very early. By 20 minutes, they were two goals up and that match was essentially done.
Chelsea look very ready to win the league and every time I see Eden Hazard, I see a player and by extension, a team which is eager to capture the title to appease themselves, their fans, and tell Jose Mourinho that they can do without him.
I think Chelsea will win the league (of course if my dear Manchester United beats them on April 16, I will be happy) and nothing changes my mind.
They have too much going their way for them to lose their heads.
Record Breaker, History maker Westbrook
Finally, the record is gone and we now have a new triple double king in the NBA. Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook now sits on top of the tree as the best triple double machine in a single NBA season.
Was it in doubt? Nope. The target was too close to ignore and it was very clear that Westbrook was going for the feat. I said a few weeks ago that his obsession for the title was a way of making himself important as his team really could not find other top performers every night.
Whether the Thunder won or lost, it was Westbrook who got the headlines and he has now achieved greatness. Just to cap it off, he got his 50th point from a game-winning three point effort.
Super stuff from the man and he deserved to be commended.
Away from Westbrook, I see that the Cleveland Cavaliers did a great choke job against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. They led by 26 points at a point and they ended up losing 126-125 in overtime.
Incredible stuff but of course, the playoffs are a very different story and we will see a stronger Cavs team.
I just hope the Golden State Warriors can go on to win the title.
Notable mentions to Sergio Garcia for winning the 2017 Masters in Augusta, USA. After 74 attempts at winning a major tournament, the Spaniard finally has one and he has a green jacket and USD 1.98 million to go with it.
Great example of perseverance.
That’s it for this week, folks.
Hit me up on Twitter @nathan_quao