The cost of Kotoko’s continued tolerance, condoning of Seidu’s shenanigans…
Barely a week ago, popular Asante Kotoko supporter Seidu Yakubu MBA was arrested in connection with the two kidnapped Canadian girls.
The news headlines were anything but surprising. Popular website peacefmonline.com went with ‘Staunch Kotoko fan, Seidu Mba Arrested Over Kidnapping of Canadian Girls’.
Pulse.com.gh went in heavy on Kotoko; ‘Asante Kotoko Fan Arrested Over Kidnapping of Canadian girls’.
Ghanaweb.com captioned it; ‘Notorious Kotoko Fan Seidu Mba Arrested Over Kidnapping Of Canadian Girls’.
One after the other, editors cashed in on Kotoko’s ‘association’ with Seidu Yakubu. Or his association with Kotoko, if you like.
As expected, the club and its supporters have found such reportage to be unfair.
But how much of this is really unfair?
What sort of relationship exists between Kotoko and Seidu Yakubu?
Asante Kotoko, like all other clubs, values supporter feedback.
Although very often, too much premium is placed on that feedback and in this case, Kotoko have not only done that, they have looked on with a degree of nonchalance as one individual has waged war on players, management members, reporters and coaches.
He has gone as far as preventing coaches from holding training sessions, attacking journalists – both verbally and physically.
Of all Seidu has done, April 2017 remains seminal.
After weeks of threatening the club’s hierarchy, Seidu Yakubu decided it was time to personally sack Kotoko coach Zdravko Lugarusic.
Of course being a fan, he couldn’t sack Lugarusic but he could physically prevent him from working and that he did.
Seidu denied Zdravko Lugarusic access to the club’s Adako Jaachie Training Complex as he led a number of fans in protest against the team.
Lugarusic’s Kotoko had a fairly good start to the season. In 11 games, he had recorded five wins, four draws and two defeats, scoring seven goals and conceding just four.
Kotoko were second on the league table, four points less than the league leaders.
Results aside, the main cause of worry then was that the team was not playing expansive, attractive brand of football and could not dominate teams, only winning matches by slim margins.
It did not matter to Seidu and his group that this was a project at its infancy. They did what they felt was right. And how did Kotoko respond to Seidu’s bold act? … Nothing.
No statement to condemn him. His status as a fan eligible to buy tickets and watch games was not affected. Nothing.
What about the Croat? There was no statement of solidarity from the club after such public humiliation.
Instead, on the 9th of April, 2017, Kotoko announced the sacking of Zdravko Lugarusic. Seidu had won. He had led a group of supporters to force the hand of the club. Or so it appeared. Whichever way, this was a seminal moment in Seidu’s story as we will later learn.
There are those who believe a number of heavyweights at the club had fallen out of love with the Croat and wanted him to be sacked.
However, it was not going to be easy and so they needed to enlarge their constituency. Who better to turn to than Seidu? He had a good following among the supporter base, was always offered a chance to air his views on radio and knew how to wage such wars.
So a plan was hatched and executed. You may or you may not believe the story. But Seidu’s influence was growing; his legend was being written before our eyes and across the length and breadth of the country, football fans knew the name ‘Seidu’.
As to how influential Seidu had become, no one could tell. No one but time.
Earlier this year, Seidu threatened to ‘sack’ Kotoko coach Charles Akunnor during a telephone interview with Accra based Happy FM.
Had it been any other fan or even a journalist, the threats would have been taken lightly. But this was no ordinary fan at all. This was Seidu. So Kotoko were forced to act.
On Tuesday January 8th, 2019, the team needed police presence at Adako Jaachie to prevent a repeat of the Logarusic episode.
A day later, Mr. Jarvis Peprah, a once upon a time Chief Executive of the club, in an interview with Accra based radio station Starr FM, asked the management of the club, to ‘deal with’ Seidu.
Following the team’s 2-1 win over Cottonsport Goroua in the CAF Confederation Cup tie, CK Akunnor revealed he had engaged Seidu in a conversations ostensibly to be on the same page.
Seidu was now so much more than just another loud voice on radio and a few misled fans behind him.
Yet it was no so much what Seidu was becoming, it was the club’s posturing that was worrying.
As worrying as this may have been, it was very consistent with the club’s response, if any, to Seidu’s shenanigans in the past.
They have not been perturbed and they were not about to be. But why were they not perturbed?
Was it that they did not know the consequences of what he was doing or its impact on the club?
It is tempting to make such a case but a quick look at the names on the clubs management list would dispel any such thoughts.
From Dr. K.K. Sarong, Lawyer Kwame Boafo, Dr. Tony Leat through to Dr. Kwame Kyei, these incidents have happened under the watch of very accomplished men who know the value of the Kotoko brand and the damage such incidents and characters can inflict on same.
In times when he was not attacking the club or its officials, he was attacking journalists.
In one instance, he attacked a sports journalist because he felt his commentary on Kotoko related issues was less than satisfactory or less than complimentary, if you like.
In this instance, Jem FM journalist Gomez bore the brunt of Seidu’s fury.
Seidu reportedly was not happy about the journalist’s choice of words and perceived bias over what he thought to be a legitimate penalty awarded by referee Nathan Anafo in favour of Kotoko.
To be honest, the journalist had no business running commentary from the stands instead of the commentary or the press box.
But that should not excuse the attacks.
Yet, somehow, all Kotoko did was to condemn the attack.
There were no sanctions. Seidu still had access to the club’s training grounds and on match days, he could go to the stadium just like any other fan.
It did not matter what he had done previously or presently. Kotoko allowed it to pass.
There are those who even dare to suggest he had backing from some powerful people in Kumasi, with some even going as far as suggesting that backing came from the powerful Manhyia Palace.
Respected sports journalist Saddick Adams of Atinka TV and FM made this bold claim on Twitter in the midst of the Lugarusic saga and he’s not the only one with such views.
While we may at best speculate why Kotoko have dined with this demon for so long, there is no question about what this continued association – be it deliberate or not – means to Seidu.
Kotoko’s silence and inaction subtly endorses his shenanigans.
If the club really were opposed to his conducts, they would have caused his arrest at least on one occasion. That has not happened.
Instead, Seidu has walked away from every scandal feeling emboldened to hatch the next plan, to work towards his next victim.
Seminally, after each incident, Seidu’s legend grows. Of course he is already popular in Kumasi but thanks to these repeated cases of his embraced stupidity, he gets nationwide mention.
They get discussed on the biggest and most influential television and radio programs.
Thus, like wildfire, his legend spreads and every time, he looks like a hero, the club looks weak. Management members look irresponsible and incompetent.
So while Kotoko may not be associated with the kidnapping, they are in bed with a character who is. Of course Kotoko cannot accept blame for Seidu’s personality.
They had no hand in his character formation or for that matter any of the events that shaped him to become the man he is – if he is a man at all.
They may not have created this monster, but they have offered their operating space as a natural habitat for this monster, feeding him even.
That association, as Kotoko have found out this week, can be injurious to their image.
By: Atsu Tamakloe