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How Hearts of Oak inspired the birth of Asante Kotoko

Hearts Of Oak Vs Asante Kotoko CAF Confederations Cup 2004 Hearts' Amakwah Mireku and Kotoko's Joseph Hendricks before 2004 CAFCC final

Thu, 30 Jun 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

GhanaWeb Feature

Accra Hearts of Oak is Ghana's oldest existing football club. Founded on November 11, 1911, the Phobians are 111 years old.

Asante Kotoko is their main rival in Ghana football. The Hearts-Kotoko rivalry is one of the biggest in African football.

Ironically, the birth of Kotoko was inspired by Hearts of Oak.

James Kwasi Kumah is regarded as the founder of Asante Kotoko. He was from Nyankyereneaase, a Kumasi suburb. He was a professional driver who worked in Accra for a military officer, Colonel Ross.

Kuma was not passionate about football, unlike his boss, an English man and military officer, Colonel Ross.

Ross was a die-hard fan of English Premier League side Arsenal and had an unending love for football.

It did not take long for Kuma to express an interest in the sport. In 1924, Ross and his driver, James Kuma, visited the Stadium to watch the 'Guggisberg Shield/Cup' between Hearts of Oak and Accra Standfast FC.

Hearts of Oak won the trophy by beating Standfast 2-1. The sight of a football club winning a trophy and its fans enjoying the moment with wild celebrations inspired Kuma to own a club.

Kuma only visits Kumasi occasionally due to his work. As a result, he returned to Kumasi during Christmas.

Upon his arrival, he sold the idea and told his 'electrician' friend Lawrence Yaw Asamoah about what he had seen in Accra.

Therefore, in 1925, Kuma founded the first football team in Kumasi, Rainbow FC. The rainbow colours of Hearts of Oak inspired the club's name.

He had already discussed it with his boss, who supplied the club with jerseys before he left Ghana for good.

For ten years, Kuma's team went through a series of name changes; from Rainbow FC, Ashantis United Football Club, Kumasi Titanic, and finally Mighty Atoms.

How did the name Asante Kotoko come about?

Because football was part-time back then, most of the Mighty Atoms' players were frequently unavailable.

J.S.K. Frimpong, a teacher who also worked as a coach at the club, mostly used his students.

There were no ethnic wars in the 1930s where one group could assert dominance over another.

Hence, the "Achepemehene" (A sub-chief in the Ashanti Kingdom) proposed to the King of the Ashanti Kingdom, Nana Agyeman Prempeh, to establish a football club that would exhibit the supremacy of the Ashantis.

Manhyia decided to claim and rename Kuma's Rainbow FC, which had gone through several name changes and was then known as Mighty Atoms.

The club was then named Asante 'Kotoko,' which means Porcupine, the Ashantis' symbol.

As a result, the Mighty Atoms was renamed Asante Kotoko in 1935.

The owner, James Kuma Darkwa, was named president, with teacher Frimpong as the first coach.

EE/BOG

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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