Saturday, November 6, 2010


TRUE to predictions, the rippling effects of Asante Kotoko’s defeat to old foes, Hearts of Oak, at the Baba Yara Stadium last Sunday, have told heavily on the technical team.
As of press time yesterday, the Graphic Sports gathered that Coach Ebo Mends had tendered in his resignation letter.
A reliable source close to management said the coach was summoned to a crucial management meeting where he was given the option to resign or get fired.
Not only that. The other technical members were also asked by management to leave.
Perhaps to save his little image left, Ebo Mends, the source said, went for resignation.
But, it was not known whether assistant coach, Ahmed Rockson, goalkeepers’ trainer, Joseph Carr and other supporting staff would follow in the path of Ebo Mends.
Developments before the match pointed to drastic action against the coach should Kotoko be beaten by Hearts of Oak.
For four seasons, Kotoko had not been able to account for Hearts at home- lost two and drew two - and they were very hopeful last Sunday’s encounter which was the fith in Kumasi in a row would end the string of poor performance against the Phobians.
Indeed, management had insisted that it had motivated the entire team enough to warrant victory and only hoped the coach would craft the right strategies to get the battle won.
But that was not to be as Hearts, under the tutelage of Paa Kwesi Fabin, plotted a demolishing exercise that was to create confusion in the camp of their opponents.
Fabin, who was vilified while in Kotoko, silenced his critics who perhaps masterminded his exit from the Fabulous club after the last season, with a tactical game that confused Asante Kotoko.
Like the ancient Roman General and Statesman, Julius Caesar, who said in his famous Latin statement, “Veni, vidi, vici,” meaning I came, I saw, I conquered, after his war with Pharnaces II of Pontius in the City of Zola in 47 BC, coach Fabin said after the victory that, “ We came, fought a great battle and conquered.”
The mannener the “general” Fabin marched his forces going by the name Accra Hearts of Oak to the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi last Sunday to shut out old foes, Asante Kotoko one-nil in their Glo Premier League match, was enough to tell his crticins in Kumasi that he was not finished as they believed.
By the way, the Hearts coach refused to comment on the performance of Asante Kotoko, the club he coached last season only to say that he was highly impressed by the output of his boys.
To Hearts’ CEO, Fred Crenstil, the outcome was a continuation of tradition. “Tradition goes on”, he said after the match.
Crenstil, who went round the stadium with his opposite number, Dr K.K. Sarpong, both waving white handkerchiefs to demand a peaceful match, was a happy man indeed after the match.
Ebo mends on the other hand admitted Kotoko had a bad day, maintaining that his team lost the battle in the middle. “ Our engine room broke down. Albert Bruce was unimpressive in the middle and we lost the match from there.”
He however insisted that sheer determination from Hearts contributed largely to their victory.
Indeed Asante Kotoko should count themselves lucky to have escaped with the slim defeat as Hearts cut took absolute control of the game and created decent chances.
It was not only the Kotoko coach who came under verbal vituperations from the crest fallen supporters. Some of the players received their share of the blame.
The supporters alleged the lifestyles of some of the players were very un-Kotoko and it there was no wonder they kept fumbling and tumbling.
With some 10 minutes to end the game, the demeanour of the Kotoko players surprisingly appeared they were leading on goals.
Instead of getting their acts together to push for the equaliser, they kept massing up in defence, committing elementary errors, an indication they were out of power to match their opponents.
From defence, through the middle to attack, Hearts were on top and what was to become a classic encounter of equals turned out to be a one-sided affair.
Goalkeeper Sammy Adjei proved why he should be on his way back to the national team with another great performance.
With alacrity, the keeper gathered the few dangerous balls that went to his post and his commanding influence told positively on the team.
Referee Cecil Fletcher was a bundle of controversy. Before the match, some Kotoko supporters had accused him of being a Hearts sympathiser, and only prayed that he would be fair.
But was he fair? Some of his decisions did not go on well for the Hearts of Oak fans, who thought the he might have been frightened by the allegations against him by the Kotoko supporters.
Hearts fans questioned why the referee disallowed two goals from Obed Ansah, the man who combined with Uriah Asante to created so much trouble for Asante Kotoko at the back.
Samuel Nzemaba who played on the left side of the Hearts defence was adjudged the best player for the day.

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