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Sports News Sun, 14 Jul 2019

Best Asante Kotoko XI in the last decade

Asante Kotoko SC have one of the best strategies locally, the best players with the best skills but the game is tougher as any player who gets to play week in and week out in the field for the Porcupines should be exceptionally good. There are big fishes in this sea and one needs to be a shark to survive here.

The Porcupine Warriors have never shied away from expensive transfers or hesitated to push their players a little more leading to having the best players to have donned the field in their club.

Having already capture goalkeeper Kwame Baah, Justice Blay, Kelvin Andoh, Emmanuel Osei Baffuor and Ampem Dacosta, Adingra Moussa, Didi Arnaud etc, GhanaCrusader Sports desk are going to try naming the top 11 performers to pull on the red jersey in the last decade.

Eric Kwabena Bekoe has been disqualified because he was not with the clubs during the period under examination; 2009-2019. Some of you will disagree with our selection, of course, but that’s what the comments section is for. We look forward to hearing who you would have chosen in your top 11.

Goalkeeper: Soulama Abdoulaye

Isaac Amoako had been good for Kotoko but no way was he going to take the place of the late Soulama Abdoulaye. Soulama in the time he spent at the club won three consecutive Ghana Premier League titles and was instrumental in the team’s 2008 CAF Confederation Cup campaign.

Soulama Abdoulaye is the most successful foreign national in the history of Ghana football with Four titles and also winning the best Goalkeeper of the Year 2008 in Ghana.

He will forever go down as one of the best keepers ever seen at the club, with his a penalty-saving, cat-like reflexes, death-defying sweeping and expert saves.

Unfortunately, the Burkinabe was too good a keeper to play second fiddle to young Felix Annan and so he eventually decided to leave Kotoko in 2014 to join rivals Hearts of Oak.

While Soulama may not play for Hearts of Oak he is forever etched in the memories of every fan. He is one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever play the Ghanaian game and a legend for Asante Kotoko Sporting Club.

Central Defenders: Awal Mohammed

I guess no one can argue against the fact that Awal Mohammed deserves to be on this list.

Awal was fearless and earned himself a reputation of being one of the greatest centre-backs to ever play for the club. Awal joined Asante Kotoko from Feyenoord in the 2011/2012 season after an unsuccessful stint with Ivorian side ASEC Mimosas before leaving the shores of Ghana to sign for Maritzburg United in 2015 to end his three years stay with the Baba Yara based outfit. Awal rejoined Kotoko in 2017 and had a relatively good season before leaving again to Al Fahaheel in Kuwait in 2018.

Prince Anokye

One of the best man-markers of his generation, Anokye blended a superb knowledge of the game with brute force and strength to become a fantastic all-around defender.

You could make the argument that Ofosu Appiah (Escoba) should get the nod here, but it is hard to deny the honour to the former Kotoko youth player.

He took a rugged, no-nonsense approach to defending that made it almost impossible to get past him.

Substitutes– Ahmed Adams and Ofosu Appiah

Right Back: Amos Frimpong

When Yaw Frimpong left Kotoko to join TP Mazembe, the Reds had to fill a huge gap in their team. After all, Yaw Frimpong had been incredibly brilliant during his stay in Kumasi. Their search continued and eventually, an unknown B. A United to take over the right-back duties for the Porcupines.

Since then, Amos has risen to become arguably the best player in his position in the local scene. He is a manager’s delight as he dutifully completes his tasks with little or no complaints. Amos Frimpong has gained a lot of experience and is the leader of the pack. In his Kotoko career, he has played as a right-back, right wing-back, centre back, defensive midfield and left-back.

What separates Amos ‘Olomo’ Frimpong from other defenders in his awareness along with his versatility and never-say-die attitude

Left-back: Harrison Afful

Signed from Feyenoord Academy (WAFA) in 2008, Afful was the perfect player for the Porcupines. His awareness along with his speed was second to none. Added to that he was a fierce tackler and a good crosser of the ball. Harrison Afful was vital in Kotoko’s CAF Confederation Cup campaign in 2008.

The diminutive player proved to be a fantastic crosser of the ball when he bombed forward to support the attack, and his defensive virtues were frequently extolled.

Midfield: Michael Akuffu

‘Ghaddafi’ as called by the Porcupine faithfuls combines unique ambidextrousness with Steve Gerrald-esque technical skill and Fabregasian passing vision and precision to form the ideal hybrid between attacking midfielder and winger.

To sum up that syntactically complex sentence: It’s a pleasure to watch the Akuffu play football.

His last stint with the club shows that his form cannot dip for too long, as his sheer quality will eventually shine through and force him back to the forefront of discussion.

Michael Akuffu is just one of those very rare players who can dramatically change a game in an instant using a variety of different methods. Kotoko fans will remember him for his last-minute screamer against Hearts of Oak in Kumasi in 2012.

Daniel Nii Adjei

He cannot make it in the Kotoko team since rejoining the club last year, but there’s no denying the impact he has had on the Kotoko team since joining the club. Nii Adjei known as ‘Mantse’ by his fans is one of those rare players who have it all. His size and strength meant that he could put in a crunching tackle and intimidate the opposition, while his incredible technique and footballing mind allowed him to be Kotoko’s chief midfield architect in the last 10 years.

A very technically gifted player, who could pick out a pass from just about anywhere on the pitch, Nii Adjei have put in some amazing performances for Kotoko in the last 10 year.

One could argue that Kotoko could not replace him since he left in 2013 for TP Mazembe.

Jordan Opoku

One of the most talented players to have played for Kotoko.

The 31-year-old left the club in 2016 after refusing to extend his contract in order to quit football and engage in evangelism for God but later rescinded his decision to sign for Armenian side Sakaeo FC but returned to the club in 2017 after an unsuccessful spell overseas.

He was a very intelligent player who had a great awareness of the players around him during his hay days. He could pick out a pass or two, having a fantastic assists records as Kotoko player.

Jordan is exceptional, a player who makes it a joy to watch and observe football. Whatever his current predicament at Kotoko, he will certainly go down as one of the Porcupines great.

Attackers: Emmanuel Gyamfi

A surprise inclusion? Well for a man who has made headlines from the moment he first slipped into Kotoko shirt from Wa All Stars in 2016, there was no way he was going to be excluded from the list.

The gliding creator’s style of play is unique, unlike that of any other players really. Despite being slight in build, Gyamfi is able to shrug off and duck under challenges, always squirming away from his marker, and seemingly unable to give the ball away.

His reading of the game is exceptional, and the diminutive plater always seemed to be able to find the killer ball, or the decisive pocket of space when others found it impossible.

He’s is loved by the club’s fans for his speed and dribbling abilities.

Alex Asamoah

When it comes to Alex ‘Makwekwe’ Asamoah the argument between most Kotoko fans seems to be divided between those who think he was inconsistent and frustrating. He was signed into the club in 2008 for a record fee of GHC 10,000 from Ashanti Gold having already played for the Kotoko infamous U-20.

Then there are those who think he is a striker of quite substantial talent who benefits from prolonged runs in the team.

This writer is firmly in the camp of the latter, those of you in the former are wrong. So there!

In all seriousness, most at Kotoko have taken Asamoah to their hearts, and this is one player you would class as being underrated more than other parties.

It should be noted that as of writing, with Seidu Bancey, Kofi Nti Boakye all performing strongly, the former Ghana Premier League top scorer place down the pecking order is about right.

In the past, however, this has been a striker’s whose talent has been neglected.

When he is on song, he scored goals that can be truly scintillating. For evidence of that goalscoring talent, just check out the all-important goal he scored in his stint with Ashanti Gold.

Ahmed Toure

As much as Kotoko fans love to hate him, most still grudgingly acknowledge that he was a top-class centre forward when he played for the club.

Ahmed Simba Toure is blessed with many of the same qualities as former player, Osei Kofi but his placement as a central, rather than a supporting, striker has meant that he has scored a tremendous amount of goals for the Porcupine Warriors.

Simba Toure had (and still has, to a certain degree) a rare blend of natural attacking instinct and defending discipline. Tremendous pace allowed him to race up and down the pitch, and his skill at every facet of the game made him a weapon anywhere, any time during his stay in Kumasi before leaving under acrimonious circumstances.

Source: ghanacrusader.com