- In as much as the achievements have been many, there have also been myriad of challenges. In the effort to restore the club to its rightful place, the true supporters and teeming followers of the club must ...
Written By Emmanuel Adu-Gyamfi - August 31st is exactly 84 years the fabulous club, Kumasi Asante Kotoko was founded. The formation of the club was engineered by one Kwasi Kumah, an Ashanti from Nyankyerenease near Kwadaso, a suburb of Kumasi. He was the chauffeur of an English soldier Colonel Ross in the colonial days. Soccer historians give Kwasi Kumah credit for having returned from Accra to begin Ashanti United in 1924, which was later renamed Kumasi Titanics.
The team was to an extent handicapped because most of the players worked in government institutions and were transferred from Kumasi to other areas. In 1934 Titanics had a new name, Mighty Atoms. Still the club did not see much progress and in 1935, J.S.K. Frimpong, then a teacher of the Kumasi Government School organized some boys from his school and proposed a name change from Titanics to Kumasi Asante Kotoko Football Club. Permission was then sought from the Asantehene because the name “Kotoko”, meaning “Porcupine” is the official symbol of the Ashanti Kingdom.
Consequently, Otumfuo Nana Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, the then Asantehene, became the first Life Patron of the Club. According to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, Asante Kotoko was Africa’s best club of the 20th century. Asante Kotoko is the only club in Ghana to have won the league trophy for a record 23 times. Kotoko won the African Champions League on two occasions in 1970 and 1983, and were runners-up on five occasions. Throughout its history, the club had very talented players donning the famous red jersey. Numerous players who are fortunate enough to have been associated with this great club in one way or the other are recognized among African greats who can compete at any level in professional football.
Indeed in 1969, Stoke City in England offered Osei Kofi, a player of Asante Kotoko a transfer fee of over Thirty-Thousand pounds, an amount that was among the highest for any player in that era. Osei Kofi however rejected the offer and pledged his allegiance to Kotoko. The list of other Asante Kotoko players is quite an exhaustive one. The endless list include C.K. Gyamfi, Baba Yara, Wilberforce Mfum, Robert Mensah, Ibrahim Sunday, Malik Jabir, Kuuku Dadzie, Abdul Razak, Opoku Afriyie, Opoku Nti, Papa Arko, Frimpong Manso, Joe Debrah and the current Black Stars Coach James Kwasi Appiah.
Asante Kotoko also boasts of the largest army of support base in Ghana and arguably in Africa. These are indeed salient facts that underline Asante Kotoko’s supremacy in Ghanaian and African soccer. Asante Kotoko has emblazoned Ghana’s name in soccer records than any other Ghanaian club. For instance, during Asante Kotoko’s first tour of Europe in the late 1960’s, the team helped immensely to introduce soccer brewed in the African pot to the rest of the world through the brilliance of the players, the quality of soccer and the excellent organization demonstrated by the club’s management.
Indeed, a former Director of Sports in Ghana, Ohene Djan, aptly described Asante Kotoko as: “The club over whose popularity the sun will never set.”
Since the club was placed under the custody of the then Asantehene Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, his successors have all provided worthy ownership, leadership and guidance to the team. The Asantehenes have been crucial anchors of peace and stability for the team in an era where many teams have experienced turmoil in leadership, with several of them now defunct. Over the years, the club had the honour and privilege to be guided by several patrons, chairmen, directors and other administrators, who are visionaries in soccer philosophies and artistry; and have shown dedicated service to the cause and progress of the club. Among the most distinguished soccer leaders who managed Asante Kotoko include, Dr. Dzane-Selby, I.J Moukarzel, Simms Kofi Mensah, Ernest Yaw Bawuah, Ofori Nuako, J.A. Kufour, Herbert Mensah, P.V. Obeng, S.S. Appiah, Assad Mallah, E.K. Adu, George Aduse-Poku, Sylvester Asare-Owusu.
In as much as the achievements have been many, there have also been myriad of challenges. In the effort to restore the club to its rightful place, the true supporters and teeming followers of the club must take advantage of the 84th anniversary of this great club to join in the “journey to victory”, with the express support of the Life Patron, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the Executive Chairman Dr. Kwame Kyei. Now is the time! Now is the hour! Let all the Porcupine Warriors arise and shine! Fabulous, The Best! Fabulous, The Greatest!! Wo Kum Apem A, Apem Beba!
NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE 84TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF GHANA PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB ASANTE KOTOKO
BY EMMANUEL ADU-GYAMFI, A SPORTS JOURNALIST