You’d have to love Maxwell Konadu’s fashion sense because… well, if you’re an Asante Kotoko fan, what else is there to love about your head coach right now?
Reading the headline chosen for 3News’ story on Kotoko’s midweek Ghana Premier League loss to Accra Great Olympics — “Olympics end Kotoko’s unbeaten run” — Konadu should have felt flattered, not flattened, by the horrendous performance he had just [over]seen: Kotoko, indeed, hadn’t lost a game all-season until Thursday evening.
But then, like Konadu quickly pointed out in his post-match pitch-side interview, “the season is still young.” And, of course, there is the fact that, of the six games Kotoko have crossed off their calendar in all competitions thus far this season, they’ve drawn three and skipped one.
You see, Olympics didn’t just defeat Kotoko to end their — for want of a more fitting word — unbeaten run. No, it was much worse. They, a side taking in a first season back in the top-flight after one out, walked all over Ghana’s record champions, and the goal that dealt the decisive blow summed it all up in embarrassing detail.
How else could Gladson Awako — a silky smooth, well-travelled footballer, I know — skip and dance past four men in red, before lifting the ball into acres of space occupied by one man in blue-and-white for a header worth three points and GHC5,000?
Annor Walker, twisting the knife afterwards by questioning Kotoko’s continental credentials (ouch!), must have been feeling coach-of-the-year vibes (I see you, Jurgen Klopp!). Konadu, squatting on the touchline and clasping his hands as though in prayer (won’t be surprised if they were, anyway, given how much he does need one), cut the figure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on one of those frequent bad days (Thursday, thankfully for Manchester United fans, wasn’t one).
The former national team coach argues that his side “can still bounce back,” but the games with which he could immediately set about ensuring that happens aren’t going to be easy. There are two more league matches — both on the road, and both against teams that are as desperate to get their own faltering campaigns back on track — before the end of the month/year, either side of the first leg of Kotoko’s Caf Champions League first round qualifier against Sudan’s Al Hilal.
The cloud of goodwill that carried Konadu to Kotoko for a second stint, once pregnant with expectation, is already draining, a drip at a time. And, after meh displays like that against Olympics, one can’t help but wonder just how many more drips he has left in the tank — or just how long before that steady trickle breaks into a stormy torrent.
Enn Y. Frimpong — Ink & Kicks