There usually is, when the transfer window opens, a wild clamour by fans for big signings — the sort that might just inspire fear in rival clubs.
Asante Kotoko have had a couple of those in the ongoing transfer window, along with an assortment of smaller fish, with the objective of building for the future while pursuing short-term targets. And while the club probably hasn’t yet struck out all the names on its shopping list, they just got the most important ‘item’ out of the way.
For all the talk about Kotoko losing one player too many and bringing in a swarm of new faces, effectively reconstructing their team, the extended stay of centre-back Ismail Abdul Ganiu — announced on Wednesday — would go down as a huge coup.
Ganiu has been very much at the heart of Kotoko, especially instrumental in anchoring the team through the ups and downs, the twists and turns, of last season.
With the demotion of skipper Felix Annan to a back-up — sometimes out-of-the-matchday-squad — goalkeeper, and the controversy and uncertainty that hung over vice-captain Emmanuel Gyamfi, Ganiu had to strip back his reserved exterior and step up to assume more responsibility than ever.
Now, with both Annan and Gyamfi being phased out, the Ghana international has to grow even more into the role of a leader (the next captain, as a matter of fact). If new head coach Dr. Prosper Narteh Ogum seeks a link between the playing body he inherited and the fresh stock arriving, Ganiu is his man.
Now, though, that risk has been eliminated, and Kotoko will instead continue to have Ganiu as an asset, at least for the next two years, leading the way into the new era ahead. He will, for a fact, be the most reliable player — also the reference point — in a squad that would look nothing like it did last season.
For the Kotoko fans that clamoured wildly for a big ‘signing’ — the sort that might just inspire fear in rival clubs — well, here you go.