There seem to be anxiety, interest and much expectations in who becomes the next captain of Asante Kotoko. This is so even among the playing body and the technical team as well as management as to which turn the club goes going forward. It remains to be seen who Captain Asante Kotoko going into the new season following the departure of the Fabulous leader Felix Annan.
Felix recently mutually terminated his contract with Asante Kotoko and has since left for the United Kingdom. Originally, Felix was the leader and captain of Kotoko with Emmanuel Gyamfi and Wahab Adams as deputies. Felix was injured earlier in the last season and could not recapture his number one spot from Razak Abalora thus resigned himself to the bench. In his absence, Emmanuel Gyamfi always led on the field as captain and leader. With Wahab Adams also sidelined to the bench, Ishmael Ganiu naturally became the choice of wearing the captain’s armband most times during matches.
Then came the Kotoko Africa campaign last season when the leadership of the Kotoko playing body revolted in an away trip demanding their per diem and other allowances, which upset the Management of the Club. Felix, Gyamfi, and Wahab since then became “rebels” in the team and there were conspiracy theories that the three players will be seen out of Kotoko sooner than later.
Coach Mariano Barreto later re-arranged the captains of the club, installing Ganiu as the second deputy to Felix and Gyamfi, while Mudasiru became the 4th leader. With the Portuguese coach leaving and the appointment of Prosper Ogum as the new coach, it is expected both the technical and playing body will see drastic changes and faces.
Felix is gone, Gyamfi remains but seems not a popular captain with the Management, though he is now the longest-serving Kotoko player, followed by Ibrahim Danlad and Wahab Adams. Wahab is left with few months to end his contract but is on a warpath with management following his traveling abroad without the Club’s permission. He apologized and asked for mutual termination, which Kotoko rejected last week meaning he will stay with the club, at least for now but may play no role in leadership, possibly even on the pitch.
Abdul Ishmael Ganiu who is now a regular call-up to Ghana’s Senior National Team is also unsettled in Kotoko as he continues to discuss a new contract with the club following a near expiry of the current one.
Ibrahim Danlad, touted as the future face of Kotoko went on a second loan to King Faisal following a similar one to Chelsea earlier and is now back to Kotoko but not seen as a leader now because of the availability of senior players.
Checks and sources to the Kotoko team however indicate there may be a complete turnaround following the arrival of Prosper Ogum. It is believed the coach will meet his technical team immediately, consult on new leadership and then meet the playing body before taking any decision. Ogum is said not to be in a rush to name a new captain but being a strict disciplinarian, he may completely depart from the normal succession of captains being given to players who have played for Kotoko for longer times. He will wait and monitor the players before eventually naming leaders during the pre-season. It previously happened when Emmanuel Osei Kuffour was made the captain after joining Kotoko and led the club to domestic glories and a great turnout in Africa.
Two Kotoko insiders are of the view that it is possible to allow the players to vote on who becomes their captain, which was previously done during the Nana Arhin Duah- Issah Ahmed -Edmund Owusu Ansah time.
Ghanasportspage can however project that certain names flying around will surely be part of the new leaders and they include Emmanuel Gyamfi, Ishmael Ganiu, Salifu Mudasiru, and Razak Abalora.
Habib Mohammed and Ibrahim Imoro are clear outsiders but are being mentioned in the Kotoko circles based on their consistency on the pitch, which is said to be the next criteria to be used by Coach Ogum apart from discipline.
It is early days yet but we will follow with keen interest and keep readers posted on who becomes the next Kotoko captain.
Story By Pat Yeboah