Goal assesses the reigning Ghanaian champions' alarmingly dwindling standards and what the sole, feasible remedy could become the season's end
By Sammie Frimpong
Mas-Ud Didi Dramani, in his two seasons as coach of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, has hardly convinced all observers of his work.
Until now, his domestic successes had been but a fine smokescreen for his failings in continental assignments. Since the turn of the year, however, things have taken a steady turn for the worse even on the local front that had hitherto been the former Black Maidens' trainer's fiefdom.
Of course the Porcupine Warriors remain atop the league table - they have for much of the season - and are odds-on favourites to complete a third successive championship conquest. With four matchdays to the season's conclusion, Kotoko could even be guaranteed a handsome margin with which to garnish that triumph; the club's nearest challengers at present are some 10 points adrift.
Even better, Kotoko are also on course for a spectacular 'Double', being just a step away from the MTN FA Cup final, an occasion the club did grace last year. In sum, Kotoko's prospects for 2013-14 appear quite bright.
All that gloss is superficial, though. Lift the façade of wellness, peer underneath, and it becomes only too apparent all isn't fine in the red ranks.
Thirty-four points picked from a possible 45 prior to mid-term underlined Dramani's grip on the local game. Sadly, though, their most recent performances have been nothing to write home about, especially when analyzed in the light of the statistics available.
Kotoko have bagged a meagre 17 points after the resumption of the league calendar; have won just one of their last six games; and have racked up a tally of seven losses overall which actually makes for worse reading than the figures that exist in that category for 10th-placed Medeama. The latter stat also means Kotoko have lost just under one-third of its fixtures this season. Hardly the stuff of champions, wouldn't you say?
If Kotoko are going to win the league this season - as they most likely are - and by a commanding mass of points between themselves and the rest - again, as they most likely are - it would be less on the merit of their own strengths. Indeed the chasing pack, particularly those occupying the top places alongside Kotoko, have disappointed and faltered when it has mattered most.
|Put simply, Dramani resembles not a winner. Kotoko do, though. They have always been. So forget the glorious moments the pair have shared in the months that have followed their marriage
Take the pair of outfits aiming to finish as runners-up as prime examples. Hearts of Oak, since late last year, have struggled to keep pace with Kotoko's sprint jog, dropping points when they could have exploited their archrivals relaxed pace. And when the Phobians, courtesy their own demons, did concede second place on the log to their namesake Hearts of Lions, the new bridesmaids have done little more intense to keep the heat on the runaway leaders.
Dramani's Kotoko have failed on all counts.
All. He has failed to make an impact in Africa, and has failed to rule home territory as supremely as current circumstances suggest they could.
Put simply, Dramani resembles not a winner. Kotoko do, though. They have always been. So forget the glorious moments the pair have shared in the months that have followed their marriage.
They are simply not compatible and, after last Saturday's risible display in the 1-0 loss to Inter Allies, one party should be calling for a divorce. For the sake of reason, that ought to be Kotoko.
Move over, Didi. You're just not good enough.