Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Kotoko Save Ghana Soccer

Congratulations go to Fabulous Asante Kotoko, champion club of Ghana who found the 'Golden Fleece' after 13 years' difficult chase. They beat defending champions El-Ahly of Egypt 1-0 to crown themselves champions of Africa and conferred the honour "best club footballing nation on the continent" on Ghana.

More than 100,000 fans watched the match played at Kumasi sports stadium. African Football Federation (AFC) President, Yidne Katchew Tessema of Ethiopia presented the cup, which has eluded Kotoko since 1971 when they first won it by beating Zaire's Englebert club 2-1 in Kinshasa, to Kotoko's captain Papa Arko.

The final, the sixth time Kotoko has played, was won by a goal scored by inside forward Opoku Nti in the 22nd minute.

Kotoko who lost last year's final to the Egyptians went on the offensive from the start forcing the Egyptians on the defensive.

In spite of their sustained pressure, Kotoko were unable to score until the 22nd minute when Nti shot the ball into the goal from an obscure position.

The Egyptians hit back in the second half, but were soon forced back by Kotoko who bombarded their goal with many shots. Try as Kotoko did, El-Ahly's goalkeeper, Ekramy, stood between their forwards and the goal. He brought off several brilliant saves to deny Kotoko any more goals.

El-Ahly won the trophy last year when they beat Kotoko 3-0 in Cairo and drew in Kumasi.

The two teams played a goalless draw in the first leg of this year's final in Cairo three weeks ago.

Kotoko is thus the first Ghanaian soccer team to win the African cup twice.

The hysteria following the victory that made nonsense of the curfew in Kumasi and other Ghanaian cities and towns must give enough indication to the military junta that Ghanaians as a people are prepared to give the right recognition to whoever would help soothe their pain.

No praise is too much for the sacrificial work players, officials and technical men put in pushing Kotoko to the top. The victory is a reward for years of planning and execution.

One man who will feature prominently in this moment of triumph is club chairman Ernest Ofori Yaw Bawuah, who has demonstrated by his method so far as somebody who believes in the saying "the end justifies the means".

Mr Bawuah began his four-year term as the boss of the most popular club in Africa in crisis. Differences of opinion and approach drove a wedge between him and his predecessor Mr Sims Kofi Mensah, the man who rebuilt Asante Kotoko after the degeneration of the 1970's.

Peace came with the chairman and his team more determined than ever. And like the saying goes, success has crowned a struggle that drew tears from men at critical stages in the club's history.

That Kotoko has won the cup in the second year of his term is a credit nobody can deny Mr Bawuah. Victory, they say, is sweet. Yes it is, but it also goes with responsibilities that are even more difficult to fulfill.

A friend remarked to me the other day that since Robert Mensah was the main pillar behind Kotoko's success of 1970, Joseph Carr, who took over from Robert Mensah in Cape Coast Dwarfs was likely to play a leading role in the Cup's second visit to Kumasi.

He was right. Carr was the man who guarded the post in the triumph of 1983. All players particularly Skipper Papa Arko, Opoku Nti, Addae Kyekyehene, J.S. Bannerman and the rest who had to live with the smell of linement throughout the year for the glory of last Sunday, must feel proud.

Everything aside, Kotoko's triumph has re-awakened Ghana Football which virtually went to the hospital bed after the Green Eagles of Nigeria's incursion of last month.

Congrats Kotoko, "the club over whose popularity the sun never sets" my apologies to Ohene Djan, Ghana's first director of sports.

Upper Volta President Thomas Sankara has said African Sports were threatened by chauvinism and com- mercial interest.

Opening a four-day meeting of the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA), the continent's ruling sports body, the 34-year-old radical leader said African sports in the last few years had suffered from the ills of highly- industrialised nations. Commercial interest, exaggerated chauvinism and 'gigantism’ were over-emphasised, affecting quality, he lamented.

President Sankara called on delegates from 50 countries to make a genuine financial effort in order to revive the organisation.

SCSA chairman Abraham Ordia of Nigeria said the future of Africa Sports would depend on the success of the meeting.


New Nigeria Bank Football club are the new Kings of West African soccer. They defeated defending champions Sekondi Hasaacas 2-0 on aggregate in the WAFU Cup final.

New Nigeria Bank won the first leg matching in Lagos 2-0 and held Hasaacas to a goalless draw at the Accra Sports Stadium.


Accra Great Olympics won the Ghana Football Association Cup with a 3-0 defeat of Sunyani based Tano Bofoakwa in a one-sided cup final in Accra.

Olympics, who defeated rivals Accra Hearts of Oak in the semi-finals, have qualified to represent Ghana in the African Cup Winners competition next year.


African heavyweight champion Proud Kilmanjaro of Zimbabwe was too high for Nigeria's Ekwelum when the two met in Lagos for the African Boxing Union championship. The Nigerian gave up in the 12th round.


Ghana's aspiring world featherweight champion Azuma Nelson has moved camp to the United States.

According to a 'Ghanaian Times' report, Azuma's hurried departure from Accra, has something to do with a world title fight.

Kenya will host the fourth All African Games only if a Chinese-funded national stadium being built near Nairobi is ready on time, President Daniel Arop Moi said at the week-end.

After thanking Chinese officials at a foundation stone laying ceremony at the stadium site President Moi said Kenya would do what it could to meet the deadline for the long postponed event.

talking drums 1983-12-19-26 Government through mob action - kotoko win africa cup