Monday, August 25, 2008

KOTOKO...Face to face with Otumfuo (NSEMPA, BACK PAGE)

By Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi

IT was all excitement at the Manhyia Palace last Friday when Kumasi Asante Kotoko led by the management team, presented the four trophies they won last season to the Life Patron of the club, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace.
Otumfuo took time to handle each of the cups including the SWAG cup, One Touch premier cup, President’s Cup and the GHALCA Top Four trophy.
The large number of supporters who thronged the palace to witness the ceremony applauded any time Otumfuo handled each of the trophies.
To many of the supporters, the decision to present the trophies to Otumfuo and the kind words he gave the entire team should inspire the players to put in extra effort to win the rest of their matches in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Alhaji Ali Maradona, a key member of the supporters base, was all smiles after the meeting and told Graphic Nsempa that, “ I think this meeting will be the turning point in our quest to win the Confederation Cup”.
One interesting part of the meeting was that the Asantehene invited skipper Emmanuel Osei Kuffuor, Kobina Dodzie and Godfred Yeboah as well as coach Bashir Hayford to address the meeting.
All the players were happy about the encouragement given them and their colleagues by Otumfuo, which had propelled them, to perform creditably so far.
Addressing the meeting, Otumfuo Osei Tutu charged the management of the club to come out with a five-year development plan that would see Kotoko develop an infrastructure to befit their status as one of the biggest clubs in Africa.
He expressed regret that about two years ago, he charged the management of the club to institute a special fund to enable the club develop its Adako-Jachie project but nothing came out of his directive.
Otumfuo said many people would not take the management serious when they keep saying that they would develop the Adako-Jachie project without any concrete action on the ground.
The Asantehene stated that if a young club like Kessben had been able to build its own stadium, then the Kotoko management must sit up. “No matter what people say about the Kessben stadium, it is a fact that it belongs to the club,” he said.
Otumfuo advised the management to make the welfare of the playing body a priority, stressing that “if the players who are central to the development of the club are not treated well, you cannot expect better results.”
Occasionally, he questioned the CEO of the club, Mr Sylvester Asare Owusu, about how management handled players’ welfare with regards to insurance, accommodation and medical care to which the CEO took time to explain what they had done so far about them.
Following a statement by coach Bashir Hayford that there was a rift between him and management over issues he did not want to address in public, Otumfuo appointed the Akyempimhene, Oheneba Adusei Poku to meet with the parties to see how they could iron out all differences.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he wanted to see Kotoko win the CAF Confederation Cup this year as well as the CAF Champions League next season.
He, however, advised management to ensure proper accounting procedures and be open in their administration and also advised the players to be committed to their job because they had a duty to fulfil their part of their contracts with the club
Otumfuo commended the management, playing body, the technical team and the supporters for their hard work, which saw the club achieve laurels locally in the just ended season.
Mr Asare Owusu who earlier briefed Otumfuo said on their assumption of office about a year and half ago, the management assured Otumfuo that the team would sweep all trophies in the season and they were doing just that.
He commended TiGO their major sponsors for the three-year sponsorship deal with the club. Mr Asare Owusu said Kotoko were doing their homework very well to ensure victories in the rest of the Confederation Cup matches.
Skipper Osei Kuffuor assured Otumfuo that nothing would stop the team from bringing glory to him and Asanteman.

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