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The Kotoko – FC Nouadhibou Covid-19 Testing Drama: Some Lessons For Kotoko

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Covid-19 is amazing. It affects us all in all spheres of life. We don’t know when it is going to end and what impact it will have on us. The second leg of the CAF champions league preliminary match in Accra better Kotoko and FC Nouadhibou was called off because (among other things) some players of FC Nouadhibou tested positive for Covid-19.

I write as an observer, a concerned Ghanaian interested in football. I may not be privy to certain details. There are however some points that the new Kotoko board members, management team and players need to consider going forward:

1. The African terrain is uneven. Social media has made things better but it remains uneven.

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[I hope the current team will appreciate the Kotoko teams in the 1970s and 1980s that dominated Africa under more difficult conditions without social media to report unfairness.]

2. Kotoko should prepare to travel for their away matches with a larger team. Players (and officials) could test positive on foreign lands. Whether these are false positives or not can be secondary when it happens. With a contingent with extra players (especially utility players), those who test positive can be replaced.

[A few weeks ago, I read that CAF had given clubs permission to register up to 40 players for their competitions. It didn’t make sense to me then. Now it beginning to make sense to me. Covid-19 can change the dynamics of African football.]

3. The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has a mandate to protect all teams in Ghana (even if some of the teams like Kotoko fight with it).
Having a cordial relationship with your football association may make things easier for you if you get into trouble.

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4. The Kotoko fans (and others) who subscribed to watch the match on Ceek were disappointed. This may happen again in future. There must be plans to address this and reassure fans otherwise marketing future matches will become increasingly difficult.

5. Covid-19 testing (and other medical tests) for teams playing international matches need to be well coordinated in Ghana to gain international confidence. It will be unfortunate for what happened in the Kotoko-Nouadhibou second leg to happen again.

6. Kotoko should also do their homework well about Covid-19 testing (and other medical tests) in countries they will visit in future so that they do not get embarrassed.
Knowing the possibilities (types of tests, where these can be done, costs and how long it takes for results to come in) will come as an advantage. Deadlines may need to be met and results may need to be repeated.

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By: Dr. Kofi Effah (Former Kotoko Statistician)

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