ASANTE Kotoko’s desire to go one step better in the Premier League nearly fell flat on home soil last Sunday night, but significantly the team appears to have re-ignited Kumasi fans’ interest in the national league whose patronage has been under constant threat from the European leagues, especially the English Premier League (EPL).
Since the league began, fans have consistently poured into the Baba Yara Stadium to watch Asante Kotoko, and when they drew goalless with Kpando Heart of Lions last Sunday, more than 25,000 turned up.
Loss of form last season saw Kotoko play in almost empty stadium, but the reverse appears the situation now, even in the face of strong attention from the EPL and other European leagues.
The draw against Lions was a fair result in a match that produced few scoring opportunities.
But Asante Kotoko could count themselves lucky when Lions’ Emmanuel Anarfi failed to decide the game for his side when he came one-on-one with keeper Isaac Amoako just two minutes to end regulation time.
Lions’ back four of Prosper Avor, Anarfi, Kweku Adoh and Godfred Rockson looked confident, defending brilliantly to ward off the Kotoko attacks.
It was the visiting team that threatened first with Bright Nsiah missing with a powerful free kick from 35 yards out.
Kotoko reorganised quickly, taking over possession with Daniel Nii Adjei and young Alidu Hariff pushing Louis Agyemang and Alex Asamoah into the Lion area. Veteran Asamoah put the ball in the net on the 14th minute but it was ruled offside by referee Chriatiana Zigah.
With both sides failing to get into firing range, they attempted long free kicks at goal but either they missed target or keepers Joseph Addo and Amoako dealt with the balls.
Six minutes from restart, Louis Agyemang ran to the by-line to feed Alex Asamoah with a juicy pass inside the opponents area but he slipped, allowing the ball to roll away.
Asamoah appeared to have ran out of energy and was pulled out after 59 minutes, but his replacement, Edward Affum, was messy, unable to control and pass well.
Kotoko’s Louis Quainoo, David Ofei and Affum went into the books of the referee for rough tackles as the fans continued to urge them on to go for the kill.
Not even the introduction of Kabiru Moro and Jordan Opoku into the game could change matters for Kotoko as the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.