K.K Sarpong’s Red Wine
By Nii Ayitey Tetteh
From where I sit, I have tried not to form or jump to any conclusion just yet, unlike the two extremes of opinions out there. There are those who are clearly calling for his head and then there are those, albeit, ones very close to his camp, who think he has done a fabulous job. But no matter where you stand to view the contents in his glass, there is no denying what is in there.
Dr. Kofi kodua Sarpong simply known as K.K Sarpong has had a week to forget. The wine he had been making for the past 3 years as Executive Board Chairman of arguably Ghana’s biggest football club, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, had all of a sudden become stale in the mouths of sections of the Kotoko family. His tenure, they argue is a failure, even to the point of an embarrassment. The fans have had him for breakfast; he has been accused of employing a reckless policy on player sales and not replacing with similar talent. His public relations hasn’t been the best and when he dared question the educational level of some journalists, he wasn’t only had for lunch; he was grilled for dinner as well.
Such has been K.K Sarpong’s lot. But the doctor stuck to the business with a thick skin; yes he did, until the spiritual leader and owner of the club, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, conducted a form of football surgery on him. On the occasion when the team was making a presentation of the Premier League trophy it had won; 2 seasons back to back; he was rather questioned about player sales and inactivity of some of the board members. That cut the doctor deep; he probably felt unappreciated and it is widely believed that, events from that meeting informed his decision to hand in his resignation letter.
But how did K.K Sarpong’s red wine get this stale? How is it that all of a sudden, the wine that had hitherto been enough to fill Kotoko’s glass, run out that quickly, so much so that, the glass is being seen as half empty rather than half full? Isn’t it rather a matter of perception that K.K Sarpong could have done better than reality? Some few years down the line, won’t the Kotoko family look back on the decision to pass on K.K Sarpong’s wine with regret? Well, why don’t you spare a few minutes and join me drink from K.K Sarpong’s glass; then we can be our own judge. Before then however, let’s take a look at the properties of K.K. Sarpong’s wine. Here, take a seat.
SWEET OR SOUR?
K.K Sarpong’s wine will taste sweet or sour depending on which glass you drink from. It will taste sweet if you consider that under his tenure, K.K Sarpong renovated the secretariat, put in place structures which gave the office a more professional outlook. It will be sweet if consider that K.K Sarpong secured a record 13 Sponsors with MTN as headline sponsors; it will be sweet if you consider that he has continued development of the Adako Jachie project, a facility with modern training grounds, as well proposed development of other infrastructure including gymnasium, modern camping and hotel facilities etc.; it will be sweet if you consider that Kotoko had not won a league title for 3 seasons running until she did so in 2011/2012 and went on to retain it in the 2012/2013 season, the first back to back championship win since 1991/1992. It will be sweet if you consider that he revived the Kotoko Express newspaper which was dormant in 2010, reportedly cleared its debts and made it viable again, even to the point where it is reported that the Express gives the team GHC5,000 monthly.
However, it will taste sour if you consider that Kotoko transferred not less than 11 key players during K.K Sarpong’s tenure; a measure considered to have weakened the core base of the team and ultimately responsible for the team’s exit from this year’s CAF Champions League. It will be sour if you consider the accusation, though unconfirmed, of lack of transparency and accountability in player sales. It will be sour if you consider K.K Sarpong’s challenging public relations and posture, which haven’t endeared him to even Kotoko’s rank and file as well as other media men. But the question remains; when you mix these sweet and sour properties, what kind of wine do you get? Do you get bland wine or one that is still fermenting; a kind of work in progress?
A work in progress is what it looks like, because despite all his shortcomings, you would want to ask; are those shortcomings such that, the Kotoko family cannot pull together, find a common ground and build upon K.K Sarpong’s solid foundation rather than start over from scratch? What is the assurance that a new Executive will deliver the CAF Champions League that the Kotoko faithful so crave, if an unnecessary developmental gap is created between K.K Sarpong’s and the new one? Shouldn’t K.K Sarpong’s wine be seen as one still fermenting, soon to mature for tasting, rather than one that is already sour. I guess you have formed your opinion by now. Would it be jeers for K.K Sarpong or you will raise your wine glass, clink it and say cheers?
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(Culled from the 90 Minutes paper)