Sports News of Tuesday, 3 April 2018
Once again, Kotoko scored just once – at home.
Jordan Opoku netted for the 1-0 victory. As a Krobea fan on Facebook, Velvet Mark, put it: “Kotoko have still not solve the goal scoring problem. We create chances but still one goal project and it isn’t reliable if we want to win the league”.
Another fan, Dennis Nkansah, also wrote: “Kotoko still struggle in scoring goals [despite] sacking [Steve] Polack.”
Where are the goals?
The number one stat of football is the goal. It produces dejection and elation to the faces of coaches, players and fans in equal measure. It is the dream of football fans to go to the stadium and see their sides score goals, while preventing opponents from doing so.
One group of fans who haven’t seen joy at least in the last three seasons, are those of Kotoko, as evidenced by the two comments.
The goal-scoring deficiency in the Porcupine Warriors’ game shows no signs of abating. It must be pointed out that, the GPL is not one which produces a lot of goals on weekly basis, to start with. This weekend’s averages shot up to 2.1 per game, largely thanks to Aduana’s 6-0 home win against Allies.
But it is fair to say that Kotoko labour in putting balls at the back of opponents’ – and they let in goals too often for a team that claims contention of the league title. And this is a key reason why they have not been able to lift the league trophy since the 2013/14 campaign.
Image result for kotoko champions 2013
Last two editions of GPL have been won by Wa All Stars and Aduana, who all managed to achieve the feat by having a decent goal difference. Yes, Aduana were the league’s top scorers in 2016 and had better goal difference (42 goals scored, 24 conceded and +18 goals) than all others, but they failed to win the title because Wa All Stars won a game more.
Last season, 2016/17, Aduana ensured they improved on the goal department and duly annexed a second title. They managed to score 45, three more than the previous season.
The negative bit about their season was, they conceded one more than in 2016 season (25).
In the same period, 2016 and 2017, Kotoko have been woeful. In 2016, the Reds managed 33 goals – same as Liberty Professionals, who finished thirteenth – and shipped in 29. Luckily, they finished fifth.
To make matter worse, 12th placed team Inter Allies scored a goal more (34) than Kotoko. Under Steve Polack, fortunes changed but only for the worse. In 30 Premier League games, Kotoko scored 23 and let in 22 goals.
How bad can it get?
Kotoko, a team which was second at the end of 2015 season, scoring 41 – only Berekum Chelsea scored more with 43 – are huffing and puffing to bring joy and smiles to the faces of their fans.
Yes, Kotoko conceded 30 but they ended the season with a superior goal difference to all (+11). The closest were eventual season winners AshGold (+9), who won two more games than the Porcupine Warriors.
In the last three seasons, Kotoko’s top scorers at the end of the seasons have not scored more than 12 goals. The best season for a Kotoko scorer was in 2015 where Amed Toure (above pictured) scored 11 of their 41 league goals. That season, Kofi Owusu (19) and Nathaniel Asamaoh (18) of Berekum Chelsea and Medeama respectively were the league’s top scorers.
The problem is not recent
After last season ended, and before Kotoko went into the Confederations Cup, Joy Sports asked then gaffer Steve Polack about the lack of goals.
“We have to work on that before we play the big games, because every game is a big game in the Confederations Cup. We would get it right and as I always say, if you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn.”
This was in December.
Not for the first time, he had acknowkledged that there was a problem. However, only five months before (June 2017), Polack was cocky about the situation, again telling Joy Sports: “If you score one goal, it’s three points. If you score many goals it’s also three points, so I don’t really worry about that. What I want is for us to win the games.”
A few months down the line, the same Polack made his infamous remark that “Ghana does not even have high quality strikers to choose from”.
That may be true, but in the same period, teams like WAFA have consistently produced prolific attacking midfielders and strikers. Or, is it because WAFA play or artificial pitches where the ball behaves more predictably?
Maybe Kotoko ought to revisit 2015, and find out what worked.
One factor which has contributed to this slump is the incessant change of coaches. The appointment of Paa Kwasi Fabin was their 14th in 10 years. Apparently, the powers that be in any club hire coaches with one aim in mind, i.e. changing the fortunes of the club for the best.
But in Kotoko’s case, it hasn’t. Instead, the swaps have culminated in regression and at some point, preferably sooner from the perspective of the fans, a bold, forward-thinking solution must be done. Get a coach, give them time, let them fail, let them correct, and let them leave a legacy.
For now, every ‘new’ Kotoko management is given the mantle, comes in with fresh ideas that cripple and disrupt whatever good run the team was on.
Numbers don’t lie. And the faster the Kumasi giants admitted that these numbers are a warning, the faster they’d become a free-scoring side.