Asante Kotoko crowned Ghana Premier League champs

BY: Daniel Kenu
Asante Kotoko captain Salifu Mudasiru lifts the Premier League trophy amidst celebration by players and officials of the club at the Baba Yara Stadium

Kumasi Asante were officially crowned the 2021/2022 Ghana Premier League champion on Sunday at the Baba Yara Stadium when Kotoko’s captain, Salifu Mudasiru, lifted the league trophy which had eluded the club for the last few years.

Yesterday’s 3-0 victory over relegated Elmina Sharks was an academic exercise, as Kotoko had already won the league, but the victory was the icing on the cake after an amazing run.

The victory was to be expected despite an early threat by Sharks which could hardly go beyond the third quarter of the pitch.

It was a record extending 25th league triumph for the Porcupine Warriors.

It was not only a coronation ceremony to crown the Fabulous boys, but it also marked the convocation of old players, most of who were clad in an all white apparel, with Kotoko greats of different generations, including Opoku Nti, Joe Debrah, Frimpong Manso, Joe Okyere, Eric Bekoe and Joe Louis, making their presence felt in an electrifying atmosphere that brought back fond memories of the club’s great past.

The Kotoko stars gave the fans a foretaste of the crowning moment when they held the league trophy, walked majestically onto the pitch and placed it on a stand.

It was indeed an awe inspiring moment when the "nation worshipper," brother Sammy, Reggae host and performer, African Child, thrilled the sparse crowd with their own rendition of a mixture of songs.

The excitement got to a crescendo when officials decided to honour their fans by throwing into the crowd a number of souvenirs which resulted in a scramble.

Long service awards were also given to staff, some of who have served the club for close to three decades.

Perhaps, the only missing link in the celebrations was the disappointing turnout of Kotoko’s supporters.

Asante Kotoko players lifting their captain in the air

Knowing the strength of the Kotoko attacking force led by Camerounian forward, Frank Etouga, Sharks played a cautious game as they restricted play largely within their half and baited the home side in the hope to catch them with fast breaks.

However, their resistance did not last long as the match turned into a one-way traffic as the champions pummelled the Sharks goal area in search for goals.

Coach Prosper Narteh Ogum’s lads were unrelenting incessant attacks as their Brazilian midfielder, Fabio Gama, became a target for rough play.

In the 23rd minute the stadium erupted with joy when skipper Imoro Ibrahim delivered a perfect free kick outside the box for the opening goal.

Two minutes later, Ibrahim brought out the best of goalkeeper Maxwell Adom who dived to parry a pile driver to corner.

Sharks nearly became party spoilers when Frances Gyetuah hit the upright from a free-kick on the 31st minute.

Coach Prosper Narteh Ogum celebrating the league triumph

Etouga, the league’s leading marksman with 21 goals could not keep his cool in front of Sharks’ goal area as he searched for another goal to equal Ishmael Addo's record of 22 goals.

However, it was his compatriot, George Mfegue, who upstaged the Kotoko striker by scoring a brace in the 80th and 89th minutes to seal the victory in style.

The excitement spilled over as a fan invaded the pitch, but he was quickly arrested and sent outside the stadium.

The league champions were decorated with their medals as skipper Mudasiru lifted the trophy amidst fun fair and excitement among the Kotoko faithful.