OPINION: Asante Kotoko's best XI in the last two decades - Footy Dreams

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OPINION: Asante Kotoko’s best XI in the last two decades

6 min read

Image via Kickgh

Football may not be the most important thing in these turbulent times, but the suspension of and cancellation of some major competitions has undoubtedly left a void in the lives of fans across the globe.  

With a few other sporting events taking place, football fans need something to keep them going. Music; reading a book that you never got round to and playing video games scratches a hitch but it doesn’t fill the void. 

 And while TV channels and club’s social media accounts are whiling away the hours by re-showing classic matches, why not go one further by rewinding the clock to a time when certain players hogged the headlines with talents and lit up stadiums? Just like their archrivals Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko have had their fair share of success domestically within the stated period.

They’ve won six league titles and 3x FA Cup triumphs among others. The club has borne witness to a plethora of stars who have lit up stadiums across the country since the days of yore. Some have walked away with a haul of medals and awards, whilst others may not have been as successful, yet their ability is what set them apart from the rest. 

The last two decades is no different. To keep things fresh during football’s absence, here’s a take on Asante Kotoko’s best XI in the last two decades. 

GK– SoulamaAbdoulaye While some of us may fondly remember him for his time at Hearts of Oak, the late Burkinabe goal custodian spent more time at Hearts’ rivals Asante Kotoko SC.  He did spend seven years at the club. He was a colossal influence between the sticks and set the bar inestimably high for his competitors. He was adjudged the Goalkeeper of the year in 2008. 

RB– AmosFrimpong Currently, with AS Kaloum of Guinea, Amos Frimpong has a fond place in the heart of many a Kotoko fan for captaining the club to win several domestic laurels. He was versatile and intelligent enough to stand out anywhere on the pitch, but it’s his diligent displays at right-back for the club for which he will be best remembered. He spent almost eight seasons with the club won three championships. 

CB– JosephHendricks There are a few who could have gone in here but Hendricks gets the nod here. He was a really scary looking guy. No striker ever really wanted to go up for a header against the bully. He gave a solid presence at the back and could dominate the box. He could also work his way forward and start attacks from the back. Additionally, he was not flustered under pressure and cleared his lines when necessary. Perhaps more importantly, he was a leader, the kind of player others looked up to and improved upon their game to impress. 

CB– IssahAhmed Known as the ‘rock,’ Issah Ahmed was calm on the ball, aerially dominant and confident in his abilities- giving him qualities all worthy of a good defender. He was one of the finest ball-playing centre-halves the Ghanaian league, confirming his spot in our team of the last two decades. He made everything tick. The one who would put his body one the time and time again for the Porcupine Warriors.

 LB– GodfredYeboah A dynamic customer at left-back, TV3 as he was affectionately known in the Ghanaian football circles was solid in the tackle, good aerially; always a willing option on the outside and offered much in an attacking sense. His ability to whip over crosses with both direction and pace was unmatched at the time, while he also is a constant threat down the flank and is reliable in possession. It was not often he was neither given the run-around by an opposing Wideman nor found out of position. 

DM– MichaelAsante The midfielder was incredibly comfortable in possession and quick to snap into tackles. He was one of the first names on the team sheet for the Porcupine Warriors. With a range of passing few others in his role, Asante had capabilities to destabilise the opposition’s play. He was strong, quick, and good in the air and was adept to using his body to shield the ball away from danger and his speed ensured he made powerful recovery tackles when required. His role in the centre of midfield was a pivotal element, where he had a much greater effect on proceedings. Rest in peace, champ! 

CM– YusifChibsah As silky and talented as they come, Yusif Chibsah made football look easy such was his vision and quality on the ball. Known for his tireless work rate and excellent passing, the former King Faisal FC midfielder established himself as one of the best in the business not to mention the tendency to score some long-range stunners. In his pomp, he was an unassailable force in the midfield. His astute positioning and awareness on the pitch are still remembered by all who watched him play. 

AM– StephenOduro As one of the best- attacking midfielders the Ghanaian league has ever seen, Oduro’s inclusion here should not come as much of a shock to anyone. He was capable of making things happen and shown he was a man for the big occasion- as he demonstrated severally.  He was a member of the Kotoko team which won the league in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014. 

RF– MichaelOsei His ball retention and ability to weave out of tight situations made him a key player in the Kotoko setup. He had the capabilities to carve defences open at the drop of a hat, and vision in the final third (or indeed anywhere) that stands head and shoulders above most of the wingers at the time. His direct running and exquisite footwork caused many defenders trouble. There was never a question the tricky ‘Ember Power’ would feature as a starter. 

LF– AhmedToure Considered by many to be one of the best imports to play in the Ghanaian league, the Ivorian during first and second spells at Kotoko was an albatross on the neck of many a defender. He was an explosive player who possessed, could play on the flanks as a wide forward or a winger, but enjoyed cutting inside and using his powerful right foot. It was not only his goals that endeared him to his managers, team-mates and fans. It was his all-round style; he played with a vivacity, power and cleverness that uplifted those around him and enabled him to thrive in a variety of positions. 

ST– EricBekoe Often blighted with fitness issues, Bekoe was a prolific goal poacher. He spent just a season with the club but the memories he left behind will forever live with the Kotoko faithful. In 2007-08 season, Bekoe, in 22 appearances scored 17 goals win the top scorer award and also help Kotoko to clinch the league title. In friendly games preceding the season, he netted 13 times in 14 games and scored 10 goals in 12 continental matches. During his greatest times, the ‘Predator’ as he came to be known was adopted by Kotoko supporters as one of their very own, and he thrived in that atmosphere. 

Dribbling and managing to keep possession were two other strong qualities he boasted. He could shoot with both feet, and his finishing was strong. An unselfish player, he loved to get in positions to assist his team-mates and create chances. I can just see it on. You’re behind your computer, shaking your head vigorously, possibly whispering expletives about how we settled on this team …feel free to tell us we are wrong!

By Godfred Budu Yeboah/Kickgh

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