It is gruelling and arduous, to say the least, for any football club to play several games within a very limited space of time and it is even more stressful to play these games with high expectations and demands like that of Kumasi Asante Kotoko’s next four games.
In the next 10 days, the Porcupine Warriors will play four games in the Ghana Premier League and in the CAF Champions League with so much expected of them.
They first play Great Olympics at the Accra Sports Stadium on 17th December 2020 (today) before travelling to Dawu to play Dreams FC on 20th December 2020. Their first round CAF Champions League game will also take place a few days later when they take on Al Hilal, before moving to Tarkwa to play Medeama on 27th December 2020.
Securing all three wins from the Premier League games will see them go level with Karela on top of the table or even overtake them while a good result in the first leg of their first round CAF Champions League game will put them in a good place to secure qualification into the group stages for the first time since 2006.
So the demands and expectations are, obviously, high but how do Kotoko meet these with their one goal project and their inability to see out games? It is a question that several of their fans are asking and they have every right to do so based on the available statistics.
The state of Kotoko address
Kumasi Asante Kotoko might have secured their first win of the season against Legon Cities by 1-0, but there was no real excitement for the supporters who had to be on edge throughout the game as Asamoah Gyan and his colleagues threatened to equalize.
In fact, Legon Cities could have achieved that target if not for their wastefulness in front of goal and it would have been a damning result for the Kotoko team who have an unwanted record over the past two seasons.
In their four games played this season in the Ghana Premier League (3) and the CAF Champions League (1), Kumasi Asante Kotoko have drawn three out of those 4 games from winning positions.
The were pegged back by Techiman Cities in their opening game of the 2020/2021 Ghana Premier League season before conceding a late goal from Emmanuel Clottey in their second game against Berekum Chelsea. In their first Champions League game also, Maxwell Konadu’s men drew 1-1 after taking an early lead against Nouadhibou in Mauritania.
The three draws achieved this season makes it a total of 6 draws for the club in the Premier League, only, since Maxwell Konadu rejoined the Porcupine Warriors last season. They recorded 4 draws out of 14 games in the truncated 2019/2020 season.
This put their draw percentage at 35.3%, their winning rate at 47.1% and their losing rate at 17.6%. So while they have a lower defeat rate, their draw rate is so close to their winning rate, and this could be attributed to the lack of goals in the side.
In their last 17 games in the Premier League ( 14 in the previous season and 3 in the current season), Kumasi Asante Kotoko have scored 17 goals, giving them an average of 1 goal per game.
The scoring challenge has even been realized by the head coach who indicated in his Legon Cities post match conference that: “It’s not easy but we can also agree with our strikers that they are, at least, scoring. Going forward, we need to work much harder to improve on our scoring rate.”
Surviving with a one goal project
The solution is thus obvious. For Kumasi Asante Kotoko to emerge out of this period successful, they would have to increase their goal per game ratio and decrease their draw percentage. But asking the coach to fix such a huge problem within the next few days would be a huge ask.
The club would be hoping, instead, that their attackers would be able to find the back of the net more frequently than ever, while the likes of Felix Annan and Kwame Baah keep out opposition players from scoring.
The next 10 days would be defining for Kumasi Asante Kotoko and with no solution yet to be found for their goal scoring problem, Maxwell Konadu will be hoping they can survive, or even thrive, with their infamous one goal project.