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Crystal Palace vs Asante Kotoko: The era that defined Kotoko’s greatness

Sun, 13 Sep 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

These days stories of boardroom wranglings and threats of resignations are commonplace when you mention Asante Kotoko. And while that is not alien to a big club like Kotoko, it also speaks volumes of how far back they have fallen.

In the past, and by the past we are talking about the 1960s and 1970s, the Porcupine Warriors as they are affectionately called were more prominent by virtue of the number of players they were contributing to the various national football teams and the trophies they were sweeping both on the domestic scene and the continental level.

During the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, the Ghana team that met Hungary had no fewer than seven players from Asante Kotoko. That is how good they were.

That said, Kotoko is still regarded as one of the best teams on the African continent and at home, they pride themselves as the biggest and most successful club- albeit not without contestation from their rivals Accra Hearts of Oak.

In 1968/69, Kotoko were arguably the best team in Ghana and of the best in Africa. Their affluence and might had come full circle and they were touring Europe for fun.

On Wednesday, July 30, 1969, Kotoko were in England and matching up against Crystal Palace. The game was part of their two weeks tour of Great Britain.

Kotoko lost the match 3-1. According to GNA correspondent John Essifie-Conduah, Kotoko lost because they were goal-shy.

They played beautiful football but failed to move the ball beyond their own half of the field. Their only goal was scored by Osei Kofi who beat a cluster of Palace defenders in a solo move to score.

They also lost their other three matches during the two-week tour. They were beaten 3-2 in their 1st match by Stoke City on 26 July before the Place match.

In their third match played on August 2, Kotoko were lucky to escape with a 3-0 beating after being under pressure for most of their match in Birmingham against Birmingham City.

On 4 August, Kotoko lost 2-0 in their 4th and last match against Oxford United. Both goals were scored in the first half in a match which was watched by a crowd of 4,391.

In all Kotoko scored 3 goals and conceded 11 on the tour.

Despite losing all their games, Kotoko learned valuable lessons and showed boldness to even contemplate matching up to better opposition away from home.

Here are the players who went on that famous tour of England.

The Squad:

Goalkeepers: Vanderbooche and Botwe

Full-backs: Ben Kusi, Boateng, Oliver Acquah and Assuming

Halfbacks: Bobie Ansah, Berko, Iddi, Sunday and Jantuah.

Forwards: Sule, Yaw Sam, Adarkwa, Yaw Badu, Osei Kofi, Kwame Nti, Osumanu, Abukari, Sammy Stephens and Malik

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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