On this day 24 July 2011 (Exactly 9 years ago today) Division One side, FC Nania masterminded one of the biggest upsets in Ghana football by beating Kumasi Asante Kotoko 1-0 to lift the 2011 Ghana FA Cup.
Substitute Evans Omani scored the only goal of the match in extra time to aid Nania to their first and only major title.
The “Pride of Paga” from the Upper East Region, as the second-tier side are nicknamed, treated the many fans that thronged the Accra Sports Stadium to a display of fine soccer artistry and crowned it all with the ultimate at the expense of the defending champions when it mattered most.
Kotoko failed to live up to their favourite’s tag as they succumbed to a lion-hearted FC Nania side, who were urged on from the bench by Ex-Black Stars Captain, Abedi Pele, who incidentally is also the founder and bankroller of the Club.
“I feel very good. The credit its not for me, it goes to the players. They’ve been training very hard and today their prayers have been answered,” Abedi said after the game.
“I am really thrilled.”
“We were tight in the defence. Kotoko is a great team and it is hard to beat them.
“Tactical awareness made us win. We didn’t anticipate winning but the better team won,” he added.
The result fits one of the major surprises in the history of the annual FA competition, which resurfaced that season after a 10-year hiatus. For a competition reserved for the ‘big boys’ and no stranger to upsets, the encounter lived up to its billing with FC Nania stealing the show in the early stages as they totally dominated and dictated proceedings to the delight of their sizable supporters.
With a characteristic circuit passing play, they limited Kotoko to the back but failed to produce any shot at goal throughout the first half. The Porcupine Warriors created some few chances with an Ahmed Toure header on 11 minutes going off target before Nania’s agile goalie Michael Sai palmed away a thunderbolt from Michael Akuffo from a free-kick.
With nothing to show at goal in the first session, it was FC Nania who resumed the second half strongly within the first five minutes as they forced Kotoko’s goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama out of holidays, testing him three times.
Both sides introduced fresh limbs to their set up in their quest for the opener, but it did little to change the trend.
On the stroke of full time, keeper Soulama came to the rescue of Kotoko with a fine save of Omani’s header from a Prince Baffoe free-kick at the edge of the penalty area.
Few seconds on, it was the turn of the Nania goalie Sai to save a Frank Boateng’s long range effort as well as dealing very well with a rebound from substitute Nathaniel Asamoah.
In the first half of extra time, Kotoko had the best chance of carrying the day but Asamoah’s gliding header from a Daniel Nii Agyei’s corner kick on 95 minute missed the target narrowly.
On the 107 minute, Nania broke the deadlock through Omani, who beautifully back-flipped the ball into the net when Baffoe’s shot at goal bounced off a Kotoko defender, leaving Soulama with no option. FC Nania held on to the lead by thwarting all efforts by Kotoko to find the equalizer till the final whistle. They stood resolute even in the face of Kotoko’s last minute rally to draw at par and send the match into the penalty shoot-out.
FC Nania’s Captain, Lawrence Lartey was presented with the coveted trophy by the Special Guest of Honour, Yagbonwura Sulemana Tuntumba Boresa, Paramount Chief of the Gonja Traditional Area and President of the Northern Region House of Chiefs, and John Barnes, former Liverpool and England International Football Player.
They were assisted by Lepowura Mohammed Nurudeen Jawula, Chairman of the FA Cup Organizing Committee, and Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, amidst jubilation and singing.
The best player award went to Abraziz Abankwa of FC Nania.
Nania FC- Michael Sai, Ebenezer Quao/Richmond Nketia, Joseph Tetteh, Abraziz Abankwa, Lawrence Lartey, Kwasi Owusu, Ebenezer Osei/Musah Yakubu, Prince Baffoe, Salifu Nuhu/Evans Omani, David Amewu, Babamu Yusif.
Kotoko – Abdoulaye Soulama, Mohamed Sabato, Prince Anokye, John Kuffuor, Awal Mohammed, Michael Akuffo, Frank Boateng, Daniel Nii Adjei/David Ofei, Fatau Mohammed/Stephen Oduro, Ahmed Toure, Alex Asamoah/Nathaniel Asamoah
On this day 24 July 1960 (Exactly 60 years ago today) Mohamadu Salisu scored four goals as Asante Kotoko beat Vipers 7 – 2 in a league match played at the Kumasi Sports stadium.
Vipers scored first through centre forward Takyi in the 3rd minute.
Inside left Kwakye equalised for Kotoko in the 41st minute.
A thunderous ovation greeted a Salisu goal which gave Kotoko a 2-1 lead in the 60th minute.
Their supporters were still cheering when Salisu again weaved his way through the bunch of Vipers’ defenders to score Kotoko’s goal number three.
Mfum made it 4-1 two minutes after this goal. Baba Yara scored in the 76th minute to give Kotoko a comfortable 5-1 lead.
Two more goals scored by Salisu in the 78th and 79th minutes and a goal scored by Takyi of Vipers put the final score 7-2 in favour of Kotoko.