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Jerome Otchere writes: Kotoko’s new jersey oozes identity

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Asante Kotoko

Unless King Faisal’s owner, Alhaji Karim Grunsah’s comment on Asante Kotoko’s 2022/23 season’s jersey, which has a watermark image of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is echoing concerns from the hallowed Manhyia Palace, it should be dismissed. Alhaji Grunsah essentially suggested that, imprinting the club’s owner and life patron’s picture on its jersey amounts to a sacrilege. 

Alhaji Grunsah’s views and other radio and social media remarks I’ve seen are interesting. The occupant of the treasured Golden Stool, at any time, is revered. We must first note that. The Ashanti Kingdom has kept its chieftainship and its associated traditions inviolable for over 300 centuries. Some of us – whether Kotoko fans or not; whether or not we are Ashantis would always uphold the well-preserved customs of the Asanteman, which is headed by the Great King, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. 

I believe Alhaji Grunsah perhaps wanted to do same. What he however overlooked is Kotoko’s inalienable association with the King, who in principle is Asante Kotoko. In one of his wise admonitions to the club’s Board in August 2013, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II stated: “Asante Kotoko is me. When you touch Asante Kotoko, it’s me you’re touching” he counseled the then Lawyer, Paul Adu Gyamfi-led Board at their inauguration. 

Respectfully so, if the Asantehene is Asante Kotoko, why can’t the club have his iconic image on its jersey? What’s the desecration? What’s the taboo particularly when it’s his own esteemed property that’s employing remarkable imaginative ways not only to eulogise him but also appreciate his august presence and authority over the club? The Asantehene has total, immutable right to anything Asante Kotoko.

His image has historically been used on various paraphernalia of Kotoko – including the team bus, billboards, magazines, adverts, etc. I recall how fans mobbed club agents when a Kotoko key holder was released 10 years ago with Nana’s image nicely cast on it. For me, the new jersey design is a matter of heritage. It’s about identity. It’s the pride, prestige and origins of Kotoko. We must be proud of our origins.

The NYA-Management for three seasons now has stayed on an apt course to place Asanteman, its colours and identity well within in Kotoko through creative ways. “Otumfuo’s image on Kotoko’s jersey is a perfect blend of heritage and modernisation” says University of Ghana, Museums and Heritage Studies student, Kwame Yeboah.

“The Porcupine, which’s Kotoko’s emblem was adopted by Asantehene, Nana Kofi Osei Tutu in 1701. Then in 1935, the emblem was given to the club by the Asantehene, Nana Sir Agyeman Prempeh as it represented Asanteman’s identity” he explains. In football, it’s alright for a jersey design to stir controversy. It has to be said again, that, Otumfuo’s image on Kotoko’s jersey is excellent. It’s a stony affirmation of Kotoko’s identity.

It depicts the greatness of the club’s ancestries. It speaks to Kotoko’s heritage and uniqueness. No football club in Ghana has rich historical ties with the Asantehene. Generations unborn would be told of it. The design imbibes Nana’s prominence and honourability into the team. It’s a positive artistic work we must adore.

Ghana Football

2023/24 GHPL MD33 Wrap: Karela United stuns champions FC Samartex; Hearts and Olympics split spoils

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Karela United defeated previously anointed winners FC Samartex 4-2 at the Naa Sheriga Sports Complex on Sunday. Aduana FC, on the other hand, settled for a 2-2 draw with Nsoatreman FC at Nana Agyemang Badu Park in Dormaa. In other matches, Bibiani Gold Stars defeated reigning champions Medeama SC 2-0 at DUN's Park, while Heart of Lions easily defeated Legon Cities 2-0 at Kpando Sports Stadium. Bofoakwa Tano lost narrowly 1-0 to Berekum Chelsea at Sunyani Coronation Park, while Nations FC drew 1-1 at home with Bechem United.

Matchday 33 of the 2023/24 Ghana Premier League finished with a variety of exciting matchups at nine different sites.

On Saturday, Real Tamale United suffered a 2-0 defeat at the Naa Sheriga Sports Complex against Asante Kotoko. This defeat at home confirmed RTU’s destiny, sending them to the Division One League.

Meanwhile, the Accra Lions demonstrated their abilities in the Accra Sports Stadium, defeating Dreams FC 1-0 and extending their excellent record.

Karela United defeated previously anointed winners FC Samartex 4-2 at the Naa Sheriga Sports Complex on Sunday. Aduana FC, on the other hand, settled for a 2-2 draw with Nsoatreman FC at Nana Agyemang Badu Park in Dormaa.

In other matches, Bibiani Gold Stars defeated reigning champions Medeama SC 2-0 at DUN’s Park, while Heart of Lions easily defeated Legon Cities 2-0 at Kpando Sports Stadium.

Bofoakwa Tano lost narrowly 1-0 to Berekum Chelsea at Sunyani Coronation Park, while Nations FC drew 1-1 at home with Bechem United.

To cap off the weekend, Hearts of Oak and city rivals Great Olympics drew 0-0 at home in a thrilling relegation fight.

FC Samartex, Accra Lions, Aduana FC, and Berekum Chelsea now hold the top four league positions, while Great Olympics, Bofoakwa Tano, and Real Tamale United are relegated.

𝗙𝗨𝗟𝗟 𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘

Real Tamale United 0–2 Asante Kotoko

Accra Lions 1-0 Dreams FC

Karela United 4–2 FC Samartex

Aduana FC 2-2 Nsoatreman FC

Bibiani Gold Stars 2-0 Medeama SC

Heart of Lions 2-0 Legon Cities

Bofoakwa Tano 0-1 Berekum Chelsea

Nations FC 1-1 Bechem United

Hearts of Oak 0-0 Great Olympics

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Ghana Football

Women’s FA Cup final: Army Ladies topples Police Ladies to clinch maiden title

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The initial move to disrupt the police midfield's ball control was undertaken by army women. After nine minutes, Adama Alhassan turned a low corner kick into Latifa Mohammed's 18-yard header, but the referee blew his whistle for offside. Adama Alhassan tried a terrible free kick outside the area inside the allocated 15 minutes. Sophia Agyakwaa's powerful free kick into the area is denied by a spectacular save by the Army goalie, keeping the Army ladies in the game.

In the 2023/2024 FA Cup final at the Legon Sports Stadium, Army Ladies defeated Police Ladies by a goal to nil to win their first-ever medal in the women’s division.

Ultimately in the first half, both teams had to settle for a draw, a test of strength as the two services prepared to fight on the pitch. Spectators liked seeing the exciting midfield action and the coaches’ tactical dexterities.

The first move to unsettle an opponent’s midfield’s ball control was undertaken by Army Ladies. After nine minutes, Latifa Mohammed’s 18-yard header from a low corner kick was ruled out for offside.

Adama Alhassan attempted a poor free kick outside the area within 15 minutes. However, Sophia Agyakwaa’s powerful free-kick into the area was denied by a spectacular save by the Army goalie, keeping the Army Ladies in the game.

On the 30th-minute mark, Mary Sasu made a fantastic save after Agyakwaa attempted a fast pass for Mawusi Agbeyo, but her run was cut short. Deborah Opoku surged past her opponents with fantastic talent, but in the 44th minute, the Police goalkeeper made a simple save that should have given them the lead in the first half.

The second half began well for both teams, with some excellent passes exchanged. Deborah Opoku broke the deadlock early in the second half after capitalizing on the goalkeeper’s error. Sophia’s aggressive press took the ball from her defender after a good run into the area and a pass to Mary Berko, however, the Army Ladies centre-backs blocked a strong shot she tried.

Deborah Opoku was sent off in the 75th minute after receiving a second warning for Army Ladies which gave her opponents a significant advantage. Mary Sasu dominated the post with tremendous dives in the 84th and 86th minutes to keep Army Ladies in the lead.

Bernice Arhinful’s unpardonable miss in the dying embers of the game may have taken the game to an extra time. Police Ladies’ last-minute attempt wasn’t enough to share spoils, as they were beaten by a goal to none.

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Steven Mukwala’s brace sinks Hearts of Oak into relegation battle

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Both clubs have suffered this season, but Kotoko came into the game with a two-point advantage over Hearts of Oak, and they demonstrated their supremacy with an outstanding performance. Mukwala scored the Porcupine Warriors' first goal in the eighth minute, surpassing his opponents to latch onto a long ball and handle it well before putting it in.

Ugandan striker Steven Mukwala scored two wonderful goals as Asante Kotoko defeated Hearts of Oak for the second time this season.

The victory completes Kotoko’s double against their arch-rivals, following a stunning 3-2 triumph earlier this season.

Mukwala, who was also on target in the last game, scored twice to help Kotoko win 2-0 at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Both clubs have suffered this season, but Kotoko came into the game with a two-point advantage over Hearts of Oak, and they demonstrated their supremacy with an outstanding performance.

Mukwala scored the Porcupine Warriors’ first goal in the eighth minute, surpassing his opponents to latch onto a long ball and handle it well before putting it in.

He secured the victory in the 95th minute with a fantastic effort, cutting inside from the left and blasting a shot beyond the custodian.

After removing his jersey, the Ugandan striker drew a yellow card for excessive celebration.

The victory moves Kotoko into the top half of the standings, moving them up to ninth position and further away from the relegation zone.

Meanwhile, Hearts of Oak find themselves in a difficult situation, 14th in the standings and only two points above the drop zone.

They face relegation if they do not improve in their next three games of the season, which is a stunning prospect for a club with such a long history as one of Africa’s top clubs.

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