Bekoe casts doubt over Kotoko's Africa campaign

Author: Bernard Neequaye
Kjetil Zachariassen (right) took his new Kotoko players through training session
Kjetil Zachariassen (right) took his new Kotoko players through training session

Former Kumasi Asante Kotoko forward, Eric Bekoe, says it will take a miracle for the Porcupine Warriors to make any significant impact in the CAF Champions League following the removal of Charles Kwablan Akonnor as head coach.

Describing the decision by management of Kotoko as the worst in recent times, Bekoe noted the club’s newly-appointed head coach, Kjetil Zachariassen, would need some time to build his own team and, therefore, would make it difficult for the Norwegian to lead the Porcupine Warriors to impress at the continental stage.

Bekoe, who was instrumental in Kotoko winning the 2007-2008 Premier League, told the Graphic Sports in an interview that the Kumasi-based side made a big mistake by relieving Akonnor of his duties as coach of the club after building a solid team that could have made a significant appearance at next season’s CAF Champions League.

Kotoko recently announced the Norwegian, a former coach of regional rivals Ashantigold, as their substantive trainer to take over the reins of the club, with his predecessor elevated to the role of a Technical Director.

Akonnor’s removal as head coach after only eight months in charge, came just two weeks after he led Kotoko to win the GFA Normalisation Committee’s Tier One Special Competition to secure a CAF Champions League qualification.

Bekoe, 32, lamented that the decision to change Kotoko’s technical team would affect the club’s performance at the continental stage since the team would lack stability.

He said every team needed stability to challenge for honours and Kotoko’s newly-appointed coach would face difficulties by building a new team which cannot be achieved in a few months.

“I was surprised to hear the club had to replace C.K Akonnor with an expatriate just after qualifying the team for the CAF Champions League. I felt this was the time for him to make a significant impact after building a solid side.

“With this decision, it will take only a miracle for Kotoko to make an impact at the continental stage because you have a new trainer who would need time to build his own team,” Bekoe said.

However, Kotoko are bent on taking on Africa and have signed eight players namely Richard Arthur, George Abege, Godfred Asiamah, Adingra Bidodane, Empem Dacoster, Kelvin Andoh, Kwame Baah and Justice Blah in a bid to improve the squad ahead of the CAF Champions League.

When asked whether he thought the current additions to the squad could help Kotoko’s continental campaign, Bekoe expressed the hope that the players signed were endorsed by Zachariassen since it would be another mistake for the management to impose players on the new trainer.

“It is not a matter of you signing the players because the acquisition must be sanctioned by the coach so I hope that is the case with Kotoko.

“However, another problem for the coach is the headache of bringing the existing players and the incoming ones together to build a solid team which I feel will take a lot of time,” he said.