A critique of Executive Chairman of Kotoko, Dr Kwame Kyei’s tenure –

Dr Kwame Kyei
Dr Kwame Kyei

When Dr Kwame Kyei took over from Samuel Opoku Nti as the new Executive Chairman of Asante Kotoko, many football enthusiasts and supporters of the club were skeptical of his ability to manage the club despite his laudable exploits in the Petroleum and Gas industry.

Ironically, Dr Kyei’s administration started with a bang, winning the MTN FA Cup against their bitterest rivals, Hearts of Oak at the Tamale Stadium in 2017. Saddick Adams scored a first-half hat trick in the convincing 3-1 victory over the Phobians.

Since then, the club has dominated the headlines for the wrong reasons despite participating in their first CAF inter clubs competition after 11 years. A lot of money was pumped into their campaign at continental level but no rewards were reaped.

With many stakeholders of the club showing discontent with Dr Kyei’s administration, these are some points that indicate the need for the 59-year-old to pack his bags.

Legal battle with Esperance

The Porcupines initially alerted FIFA on a $150,000 transfer fee unpaid by the Northern African club for the transfer of midfielder Kwame Bonsu but Esperance struck back.

The Tunisian powerhouse revealed the that an $180,000 dollar transfer fee was unpaid for the arrival of Emmanuel Clottey to Kotoko leaving the Kumasi-based club with a $30,000 dollar deficit.

In the past week, FIFA opened proceedings against the two time CAF Champions League winners after they failed to make the payment early.

Although Kotoko have admitted defeat and agreed to settle their debt, the relegation threats by FIFA and the opening of disciplinary proceedings soured the reputation of the 24 time Ghana Premier League winners.

The Sogne Yacouba saga

The return of the Ghana Premier League season promised an up-close view of the biggest stars in the competition and Yacouba was one of them having earned the most exciting player tag by an African Sports Centre for Data, Research and Technology survey before the competition even began.

The love affair of Yacouba and the club continued until contract discussions reached an impasse. Dr Kyei described his reported $150,000 per year demand as ‘outrageous’ and subsequently removed him from match-day squads.

The Burkinabe forward also made things more difficult during this period with his social media post hinting that the club would regret hurting him.

The situation has taken a turn for the better now with reports of positive contract talks which led to his return to the side against Elmina Sharks but the whole situation could have been avoided.

Early cancellation of Strike deal

In November 2018, Kotoko entered a three-year kit sponsorship deal with Portuguese sportswear manufacturer, Strike. The lucrative deal saw Kotoko earn GH¢50,000.00 over the period and stood to gain some extra cash from sales of replica jerseys.

After 16 months of a smooth partnership, the Porcupines shockingly asked to terminate the deal. A representative of Strike said, “yes it is true Kotoko has written to us they want to hold termination talks with us, I wasn’t available when they wrote us but I have notified them [that I] am back and ready to meet them.”

The representative did not have any qualms with the decision of the club but without signs of a much bigger deal in place, the move seems to be a baffling one.

The exit of C.K. Akonnor

C.K. Akonnor’s arrival on a three-year deal in 2018 brought a lot of excitement and high expectations among the fan base due to his massive experience in the local scene and he did not disappoint.

The former Black Stars captain brought ‘Agroball’ to the minds of everyone, a brand of football that produced entertainment, goals and some good achievements to match.

He led the team to the Normalisation Committee Special Competition Tier one trophy and a place in the CAF Confederations Cup group stage in 2019, their first appearance in any CAF Competition since 2008. It was expected that he would lead Kotoko to higher heights but a shock exit came nine months into his tenure.

A legal battle followed and Akonnor came out on top, becoming $34,000 dollars richer and went on to become the current Black Stars coach. Kotoko once again lost some cash, a brilliant coach and failed to improve as a team.

Appointment of Kjetil Zachariassen

The exit of C.K. Akonnor was a terrible one but the appointment of his successor proved to be much worse. Kjetil Zachariassen was recruited from AshantiGold SC with one main task, get Kotoko to the CAF Champions League.

On that he failed woefully, crashing out in the first qualification round to Etoile du Sahel. The club were dropped to battle in the CAF Confederation Cup qualifiers. It provided an opportunity for the Norwegian to redeem himself but he failed once again.

The Porcupine Warriors lost to Ivorian side San Pedro, leading to the sack of the gaffer after just four months at the helm. The fans were happy with the decision but the club’s troubles were far from over.

The Players and Coaches Statuses Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) found Kotoko guilty for unfair dismissal of Kjetil and ordered the club to cough up $12,425 and GH¢660 to the former AshantiGold boss. The Kumasi-based club were the losers in the end with no continental competitions to play in and loss of money.

No board of directors

Article 14.3 of the GFA Club Licensing regulations demands that clubs submit names of their board members to keep their licenses but Kotoko failed to meet the initial deadline and the Club Licensing Board bit hard.

The Porcupine Warriors were fined an amount of GH¢5,000 and were given an ultimatum to provide the names of their board members by 3rd April, 2020.

Their punishment for going against this new directive will be the revocation of their license plus an additional GH¢20,000 fine.

This has brought a further dent on Kotoko’s image as a club.