Erik ten Hag, Manchester United Manager

By Ken Bediako

You can trust Ghanaians for their sense of humour. Manchester United’s manager Erik ten Hag is having a tough time in the English Premier league so is Asante Kotoko’s Dr Prosper Narteh Ogum who is losing

Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako-The Writer

matches like nobody’s business. No wonder some social media pundits have started calling the Ghanaian gaffer “ten Hag of Kumasi.”

Honestly it may not be fair to compare the calamities facing the two team handlers, I mean ten Hag and Ogun.

ten Hag has his cream of international stars all right but many of them seem to have suddenly lost self-confidence as if hit by some virus. It is hoped the recent hard fought 1-0 win over new entrants Luton, will spur them on to regain their apparent lost appetite for victories.

Prosper Ogun on the contrary is dealing with untested recruits who are gradually and unnoticeably being let down by shambolic goalkeeping. Have you noticed that on two consecutive occasions goalkeeper Danladd has

Dr. Prosper Narteh Ogum, Asante Kotoko coach

been roundly beaten by a free kick almost from the same spot by two different clubs. Please call me the goalkeeping trainer.

I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Dr Ogum who seems to be left alone in the middle of the deep sea to paddle his own canoe for survival.

This gentleman who made an impressive debut with Kotoko two seasons ago, but quit after the show, reportedly returned on the prompting of former national coach Kwasi Appiah. The news from Manhyia indicated the formidable Kwasi Appiah -Ogun pair to steer affairs of the Porcupines.

Perhaps little did fans of Kotoko know that Kwasi Appiah would soon depart for a more lucrative duty post in Sudan.

Ogun is now a loner and has to deal with what he describes as “politician footballers” who are making his assignment difficult to yield good dividends.

I urge this fine gentleman of coach not to panic that quickly. It’s disturbing Kotoko have won only two of their ten matches so far. History tells us the 

fabulous club of Africa had such funny tales in the past but they came back stronger the next season. Almost 50 years ago (1974 to be precise,) Kotoko won only four matches in the first round. Dwarfs beat Kotoko 1-0 in the opener in Kumasi and Hasaacas followed suit with 2-0 win at Gyandu. The next five matches were all drawn games; 1-1v All Blacks in Kumasi,1-1 home Derby against Corners, 2-2 v. Susu Biribi at Tafo;1-1v Bofoakwa;1-1Hearts in Accra before beating Fankobaah 2-0 in Kumasi and Akotex 3-0 away. The remaining first round matches were Kotoko 3 Wise 1; BA United 2 Kotoko 2: Kotoko 0 Olympics 1; Volta United 0 Kotoko1.

Do you know that despite all this poor show Kotoko marshalled forces in the second round, and carried it to the next season to comfortably win the 1975 league. This is the reason why most diehard supporters of both Kotoko and Hearts feel they can reach the top once more with clear cut management schedules.

Hearts marked 112th birthday last Saturday full of hope to return to the top.

Incidentally the day also marked the 67th birthday of Mohammed Polo a great legend of the Phobian family.

GTV sports gave Polo an extensive interview and he sadly exposed the uncaring attitude of our current generation of football administrators who have totally failed to recognise the contributions of the. past heroes who made Ghana the showpiece of football in Africa. I admire Polo for his often passionate appeal for the recognition of past sporting personalities.

I was sports editor of the mass circulation Daily Graphic in 1973 when Polo hit the limelight with his amazing football skills I have to disclose the fact I was among group of sportswriters that gave Polo the appellation “Dribbling Magician,” later on progressing to dribbling professor after many other accolades have been showered on him.

The young boy was not only an amazing dribbler and fantastic passer of the ball, but he could score some vital goal when the going was becoming tough for his team. Emmanuel Amoako, my deputy at the sports desk came up with the tag “scorer of important goals”.

I was so fond of the young dribbler who made ball juggling part of himself like breathing so much so that I decided in my capacity as sports editor, to cover majority of the matches he featured in. At 67 the man still has football brains and he should be encouraged to pass them on to the growing population of football talents nationwide.

Meanwhile all roads lead to the Baba Yara Stadium on Friday for the World Cup preliminary match against Madagascar.

Our football managers have managed to give this match a low profile for reasons best known to them. It is learnt final training exercises of the Black Stars are strangely behind close-doors

I Know for sure the actual match will be played “in front of open doors.” Meet you there.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.