A new era has been ushered in. Asante Kotoko is charting a new path. A path to redemption. A redemption of past glories. Fans of the club can feel a new breeze. One that will ease their recent troubled minds. Hearts are beating differently, the conversations has changed. There is a sense that this time around, the timing is right.
Asante Kotoko are seeking to return to that era where they made the final of the CAF’s biggest club competition in almost every decade until 2010. Right from the 1960’s, the pride of the Asante Kingdom had cemented their status as a giant across the continent; a footballing giant feared by many, served as a role model for wannabes.
Eventually this giant has grown weak legs and can no longer stand. Rivals and even those behind have outpaced this giant in growth recorded on and off the pitch. The Porcupine Warriors have been losing recent battles and are in danger of losing the war. With football war on and off the pitch looking a lost one, a change is needed!
Enter Nana Yaw Amponsah! At 36, the former president of Division One League outfit Phar Rangers has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Asante Kotoko. Perhaps this is his biggest role yet, but the former Ghana FA presidential aspirant has worked hard for this. He’s prepared himself well enough for this stage.
Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” In the case of Nana Yaw Amponsah, this is sheer good luck. A deserving one! So it’s surely not surprising the barrage of well wishes that have followed his appointment. But as the dust settles, the way will be clear and results will be demanded from those far and near. The ever vocal fraternity of the Asante Kotoko faithful, whose unyielding desire is to see the club become a dominant force again will start to demand results soon before we realise .
However, even before real work starts, here is a list of must dos for Asante Kotoko’s new CEO, Nana Yaw Amponsah. It includes a bonus.
1) Revamp Supporters Structure
It is impossible to imagine a football club without fans or followers. Football fans, like footballers themselves, remain a crucial part of a club’s past, present and future. Without them, the club’s continued existence is threatened. Supporters/Followers are an indispensable part of any football club. Their emotional backing and more importantly financial contributions are extremely important to ensure a club’s success.
During his unveiling, New Asante Kotoko CEO, Nana Yaw Amponsah boldly proclaimed that the club was bigger than any of Ghana’s two biggest political parties’ NPP and NDC. This proclamation was surely inspired by the age-long claim that the club has almost 6 million supporters scattered across Ghana. Sadly, this declaration has not been backed by any empirical data.
As a club that prides itself as a peer to the likes of Al Ahly, Esperance de Tunis, Raja Cascablanca and other African giants, Kotoko must follow their example of having an established database of all supporters. The club must authenticate their claims by commissioning a project that entails a nosecount of supporters, duly registering them and creating a database (online inclusive) plus a classification and categorisation of these supporters. This exercise must be done collaboratively by the leadership of both club and supporters.
2) Infrastructural Development
For several years now, Asante Kotoko has not really focused on infrastructural development. There is a wide gap between Kotoko and other African giants. Even in Ghana, they fall behind the likes of WAFA, AshantiGold SC and a few others in relation to infrastructure.
As a big club, the current infrastructure of Asante Kotoko leaves a lot to be desired. The over 80 year old club cannot boast of a standard and modern football training center (a basic requirement for any top side). Works over the years have progressed at a snail’s pace with regards the Adako Jachie training facility. The new CEO must help expedite works and ensure the project is completed before his tenure expires.
Asante Kotoko during the unveiling of the new board were tasked to revamp their youth structure and also form a women’s teams. These projects will require the club having additional and to some extent separate facilities to handle the demands that having such teams come with.
A serious discourse needs to be had on the need for Asante Kotoko to have their own home stadium instead of continuing to adopt the Baba Yara Stadium as their home venue. Such talks have exhausted in the media space but its time the club had a serious dialogue about it and take the best decision going forward.
3) Effective Communication Plan
A club that doesn’t have good communication is like an adventurer with a map without the necessary knowledge to read it and know the direction. It becomes pointless to embark on such a travel and even the more daring one is likely to get lost along his tracks.
Effective, strategic and proper communication remains a fundamental aspect that will make the drive towards making Asante Kotoko great again, work! Most often, a poor communication strategy has often caused a stir across the Asante Kotoko fraternity. How information flows through the club and how information is relayed to the public/media have often been the club’s bane. It’s been disorderly mostly.
With a new leadership on board, having an effective communication plan must be a priority. During the much heralded Herbert Mensah era, effective communication was key to drumming home his vision. He found a way to appeal to, update and furnish supporters with happenings at the club. There was an established relationship between leadership and the fans. All these happened even before the advent of the various technological and social media channels. What this means is that the new leadership has several communication channels and strategies to employ, and this must be done efficiently.
Nana Yaw Amponsah first of all is supposed to draft in a competent Media/Communications team that will responsible for everything communication about Kotoko. The era where almost every club official at will talks or engages the media MUST halt.
The Communication Team appointed by management shall be responsible for; i) Growing the clubs’ own media channels to increase the directness of communication
ii) Actively building formal relations between the club and traditional media most especially local media
iii) Drafting a Communication Plan and Policies that will ensure how information flow should be like within the club.
iv) Sustaining informal personal relations between clubs’ employees and members of the media
4) Streamline Club’s Transfer Policy
Asante Kotoko’s transfer activity has been under the spot light of late. Transfer dealings in the last 4 years have been very chaotic and ludicrous. A catalog of poor signings has seen the club’s dealings not proving value for money spent. Last year’s signing of the not fit for purpose Ugandan striker George Abege and the less talented Moussa Adingra (Ivorian) is more than enough evidence. During this same period under Executive Chairman Kwame Kyei, Asante Kotoko has also signed not less than 40 players, appointed more than 5 coaches. To make matters more worse, mostly players have left for free during this period and in cases where transfer fees are paid, the club has had to get meagre sums.
The above stated certainly is problematic and needs to be fixed going forward. With the new board and management been barred from recruiting new players for the club by the Manhyia Palace; what new CEO, Nana Yaw Amponsah needs to do is to have a re-look at the club’s transfer policy and emabrk on a total revamp. With the idea to move into reviving the club’s Academy setup, there needs to be a policy of giving priority to home-grown talent.
More so, a transfer policy detailing specifics as regards players brought in must be clearly put together and used going forward. The Transfer Policy should also touch on how the club can have an effective scouting network that fishes for the best of young talents across the country (and even around Ghana’s West African neigbors) to be trained at the club’s Academy not forgeting how players can be developed on and off the pitch to up their market value.
If possible, setting up a transfer committee that has representation from the technical team, management and other key personalities must be given prominence. This committee shall work with the transfer policy that will be drafted.
There are other things that Nana Yaw Amponsah MUST do at Asante Kotoko to ensure success. As a sports Marketer, he needs to rebrand the club to tap into several revenue streams. The area of sports merchandising should be critically looked at. Selling of club jerseys and memorabilia must be given special attention.
In conclusion, perhaps a less crucial must do for the new CEO is not to lose to Kumasi Asante Kotoko. Consistent losses could lead to scenarios that could derail his path to ensuring success.