The Porcupine Warriors earlier in March announced the capture of 23-year-old Nkoranza Warriors’ midfielder Emmanuel Sarkodie on a 3-year deal.
Judging by the reaction on social media at the time, it is the supporters and not the coach and team-mates that may need the most convincing, as fans of the club seem decidedly underwhelmed by their capture of the midfielder.
And who would blame them? In recent times, Kotoko have been unlucky as most of their recruits struggle to become mainstays in the club… Empem Dacosta, Evans Owusu, Richard Arthur, Sam Adams and Matthew Kelvin Andoh readily come to mind.
Whilst undoubtedly impressive for Nkoranza Warriors, the workaholic midfielder has it all to do in order to prove himself in the Ghanaian topflight division so as to endear himself to the fans of the club.
Maxwell Konadu has clearly identified the need to reinforce in order to make his side genuine title contenders on the continent which is quite herculean, but the player has all the necessary ingredients to adapt.
Fitness is key in this position, but the young midfielder is well- drilled in covering a large amount of ground as is always expected from this position.
He can be deployed both as a central midfielder or wide right and has been equally effective in both positions, elegantly gliding around the pitch and quickening the pace of his side’s attacks or making sure possession is retained with sure touches of the ball with either foot.
Sarkodie’s magnificent control, accurate distribution and faultless decision making ensures it’s almost impossible for the opposition to prise the ball away from him. He is adept at playing that lethal pass, whether a perfectly weighted through ball, a clever flick or a precisely delivered cross. As well as setting up his team-mates, he has an eye for goal himself and is the possessor of a powerful right-foot shot.
In the truncated division one league, he won eight MVPs in thirteen appearances registering a goal and an assist in the process. Using his spatial awareness, he craftily buzzes laterally on the pitch, always looking to present his centre-halves with an option in their attempts to pass out from the back.
He is not interested in scoring goals, but the player who will pass to the scorer. His job is to anticipate, intercept, pass, and anticipate.
Yet perhaps most impressive of all is his football intelligence allied to an unperturbable temperament, which enables him to display all the above talents in even the most frenetic of scenarios when time and space are at a premium. To top it all, he is a tireless worker, rarely staying still for a second.
How quickly he’ll be able to adapt to the rigours of a top club like Asante Kotoko will only be known once given the chance to bed down and claim a regular place in the Kotoko midfield. Should he be given the chance, expect Kotoko’s midfield to turn much more variable and fluid- a change most fans would welcome.
If Emmanuel Sarkodie can seamlessly and consistently churn out exhilarating displays as evidenced with Nkoranza Warriors then the Porcupine Warriors might have a better player than originally thought. He has no shortage of ability and should have a huge impact on Kotoko when football resumes in the country
By: Godfred Budu Yeboah