As Sadick Adams ran, clenched fist pumping the air, jumping and hugging some of his victorious Kotoko teammates, their Phobian counterparts fell to the ground with face buried in their labored palms beneath the punishing Tamale sun. That pretty much aptly sums up all that happened in the #Unmissable – the MTN FA Cup final – played at the Tamale Stadium yesterday. Asante Kotoko brought on their ‘A’ show as three first half goals from marksman Sadick Adams hit Accra Hearts of Oak for six with the latter only getting a face-saving consolation goal in the second. Over the course of the ninety minutes the game spanned, a few plots and subplots emerged and here are five of them we observed.
THERE IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE ONE WINNER: On the face of it, it will seem almost incredible, strange even, that a match of this magnitude would be decided by the first trimester of the game with all its pre-match hype and build-up, but for the purists who most often look beyond the smokescreen, they didn’t need a crystal ball to call which way this match was going to be heading even though admittedly, one would have to go back to 2005 to pick out the last time Kotoko recorded such an emphatic victory over Hearts of Oak. In the previous three meetings between the two clubs in the FA Cup final – the last of which came in 1990 – Asante Kotoko emerged victors and if history is anything to go by, a win for Kotoko was already etched in the stars even before the referee blew his whistle to start proceedings.
STEVE POLLACK ‘EARNS HIS KEEP’: They have arguably the most difficult job in modern football but paradoxically, coaches have most often been the hardest hit in any structural chops and changes in most clubs worldwide especially when those clubs hit rough patches. So, for coach Steve Pollack, for whom much had been said, speculated and written about, mostly with regards to his future at Kumasi Asante Kotoko beyond this season, this game was probably the best opportunity he needed to put out a solid argument for a contract extension across and boy did he pass the audition. He hasn’t hidden his desire to be given a few more years to get this project he’s started with Kotoko to a glorious end and one can’t help but feel this victory will do his cause a wealth of good.
SADICK ADAMS CAN BE RUTHLESS ON HIS DAY: Saddick Adams has come in for a lot of flak this season and most often than not, rightly so. His goal returns since switching camp to join the Porcupine warriors has not been the best and he has been at the receiving end of a lot of strong criticism this season but his display today will be raising a few eyebrows and revising a few notes amongst the fans. Profiting from a few criminal errors from the Accra Hearts of Oak backline, the former Atletico Madrid man made short work of the kind chances that fell to him and he registered three quick first half goals to all but kill off the tie even before it began. Lethal Adams. Long may it continue!
FELIX WAS RIGHT, KOTOKO LEARNT FROM THEIR MISTAKES: In such a game of fine margins, any foot you put wrong, any wrong step could prove one that hands the tie to the opponent; a fact Kotoko goalie Felix Annan learnt in a hard way. In the press briefing leading up to this game, he sent out a subtle plea to the fans to put all the mistakes the team had done previously against Hearts behind them as he and his teammates set out to correct any mistake they had made in earlier encounters. If anything at all, the final score line suggests that he was right. Kotoko had indeed learnt from the past and have taken steps to put their arch-rivals to the sword in such a beautiful way. Let’s hear it for Felix. Congratulations mate!