Asante Kotoko late Tuesday announced the appointment of former player, Akakpo Patron as their new Assistant Coach – the second to be named in 2017. Rumours of the former WAFA coach occupying the vacant Kotoko post were rife for days. The fabulous club gave weight to the rumours with the official announcement.
Exactly what does Akakpo Patron brings to the table of the Porcupine Warriors?
First, his coaching credentials aside, as a Kotoko former player, Patron must have the temperament to work at the club. He must know what it takes to work for Kotoko in that capacity. Kotoko isn’t just a football club. It’s a religion, they say. It’s worshipped. Kotoko is arguably Ghana’s biggest football club with the largest number of fans – some being extremists.
Kotoko fanatical following can easily unsettle the fainthearted in difficulty times. When they’ve the endorsement of the club’s leadership (usually behind the scenes), whoever is seen as the problem doesn’t last. Patron must know his way around the club and how to deal with the radical fans in times of poor performance and results.
Logically, I don’t wish that Patron get into problems with the Management, which is led by the Executive Chairman, Dr. Kwame Kyei. Yet, there’s ample evidence to conclude that, the current administration hasn’t found certain engagements so comfortable. Patron must expect more.
Coach Steven Polack, who Akakpo Patron will assist, has had his own brushes with the leadership of the club. Management members have been no exception. Operations Manager, Ernest Owusu Ansah is reportedly on his way out of Kotoko over disconcerting outbursts at management meetings that seek to embarrass his fine personality.
Kotoko has understandably been quiet on the Operations Manager’s story. Former Kotoko striker, Shilla Alhassan, worked as Team Manager earlier this year, under Zdravko Logarusic. Shilla was sacrificed over petty gossips that left him emotionally bruised. Former Assistant coach, Michael Osei has his own story.
Patron must brace himself up for the counter-productive, ungodly hero-worshipping and their crusaders, who when you fall out with them, will badmouth you to the leadership and from experience, no amount of professional conduct will save you and your job when it so happens.
As someone who has worked at WAFA, undeniably one of the best administered clubs in Ghana, Patron has professionalism in his blood if not etched to his heart and mind. His knowledge of the game is fine and suitable for Kotoko at this time. Patron is in to work with Polack, whose appreciation of the game is good. That combination at Kotoko will be helpful.
It can’t be faulted but Patron and Polack don’t need the backing of the fans alone. The club’s leadership must patiently team up and understand them also giving them the strongest of professional and administrative conduct, for after all, in football club administration, you can’t delink the Boardroom life from what happens on the pitch.