Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching Asante Kotoko FC against Heart of Lions FC in the third round of the GLO Premier League 2012-2013. The Porcupines took the lead through a penalty from Kofi Nti Boakye after substitute Iddrisu Nafiu had been headbutted by tough defender Nana Kofi Egyir. Heart of Lions FC reduced the score after having been awarded a rather soft penalty during extra time. The penalty was converted by Egyir. The match was a rather dull affair as both teams failed to create chances. Fans of Kotoko will not be happy about this result. The players of Heart of Lions FC were celebrating the point as it was a victory.
After having used Isaac Amoako in the first two rounds, coach Dramani picked veteran goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama (born 29.11.1974) between the sticks. Soulama was rarely tested but seemed confident whenever he was brought into action. Soulama is a full international player for Burkina Faso. Joseph Ochaya, the left-back from Uganda, made his league debut for Kotoko and was immediately intrigued by this tall, athletic player. His passing was not top standard but his overlapping runs down the channel were a joy to watch at times. Ochaya, a former player of Kampala City Council FC, is definitely a player to watch. Ochaya was substituted for Ben Adama Banh, the Ivorian defender, signed from Africa Sports from Abidjan. At right-back, Amos Frimpong (born 18.11.1991) finally got a chance to shine. The right-back positition of Kotoko has been owned by Yaw Frimpong for years but the former player of ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) is now on his way to TP Mazembe from the DR Congo. This will most likely lead to opportunities for the promising Amos Frimpong, who captained BA Stars FC during the GLO Premier League 2010-2011. From my point of view, Amos Frimpong defends just as well as Yaw Frimpong. If he is able to improve the attacking part of his game, he could reach far in Ghanaian football.
The central defensive pair consisted of Smallboy Korbah, playing against his former club, and Kwabena Adusei. Expectations are high for Korbah and somewhat surprisingly, coach Dramani preferred the rather inexperienced player ahead of the super regular Henry Ohene Brenya. Both Korbah and Adusei were impressive and never put a foot wrong. Adusei is about to become a fans favorite at Kotoko. I really enjoy his no-nonsense approach and you can clearly see the will to win in his eyes. Adusei is definitely a player that could do well in a bigger league. He is perhaps not the fastest but he compensates with smartness and strength.
From my point of view, midfielder Michael Anaba was the most creative player on the field, often attacking from the left. Anaba, a key player for the Ghana U-20 national football team, was involved in several passing moves, showed good vision and impressive dribbling ability. Richard Mpong (born 04.07.1990) attacked from the right wing but had yet another low quality game. Mpong, signed from Medeama SC, seems to lack confidence and he has yet to show the Kotoko-fans what a fast and tricky player he is. Mpong was substituted for winger Ransford Osei (born 05.12.1990). Osei has had an unimpressive start to his career at Kotoko. He works hard but seems very ineffective with passes and crosses. Osei caused the penalty when Heart of Lions FC reduced the score.
Midfield engine Issah Yakubu, signed from Liberty Professionals FC, worked hard but failed to impress me – like he usually does. Michael Helegbe (born 15.09.1985), the petit playmaker, showed good technical ability, including close control, but he failed to effectively dictate the play. Kofi Nti Boakye (born 05.04.1987) was cold as ice from the penalty mark but failed to impress. The burly striker, who often attacks from a deep-lying role, showed a poor first touch and poor finishing. Boakye, the captain of the team, will become better and he is my guess for the top scorer award at Kotoko this season. Seidu Bancey, the lively striker signed from Ebusua Dwarfs, was often at the right place at the right time, but his finishing was poor. However, Bancey has a lot of qualities and I like the way he always lurks around in the box, looking for space and opportunities. Bancey was substituted for the powerful Iddrisu Nafiu (born 12.06.1986).The striker created few chances but won the important penalty for Kotoko.
Joseph Addo (born 02.11.1990) had a steady performance in goal for Heart of Lions FC. Addo was solid when dealing with crosses and his shot-stopper ability was not really tested. The current season is Addo’s fifth at Heart of Lions FC.
Ibrahim Moro was rather impressive at left-back. Moro, signed from Real Tamale United FC, is one of many modern full-backs in Ghana, often having attacking roles in the team. A video of Moro can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5ykPAiMRqc. Mutalibi Mohammed played at left-back and was rarely troubled by Mpong or Osei. The central defensive pair of Heart of Lions FC was highly impressive. The rugged defender Nana Kofi Egyir, formerly of Hearts of Oak SC, Hasaacas FC and Kessben FC, is an experienced performer who won almost every single tackle during the game. At times, he was almost too tough, which lead to the penalty of Kotoko. He corrected his own mistake when he scored from the penalty mark during extra time. An almost flawless performance from the veteran. Egyir was partnered by the consistent Badu Richard Asiamah, playing his third season at Heart of Lions FC.
Maestro Mensah, Prince Acquah and captain Daniel Acquaye controlled the midfield. Mensah is a hard tackling defensive midfielder. I have a good feeling about this athletic player, who can also play as a centre-back. Daniel Acquaye, often attacking from the left, is the playmaker of the team. The experienced player has a lot of smartness. The picture is of Acquaye and was found on Ghana Sports Online. Acquaye was substituted for Kwadwo Poku (born 05.05.1985), the strong winger / striker who played professionally at FC Midtjylland (Denmark).
Acquah was rather anonymous from my point of view. He was substituted for Isaac Osae, a tall striker who caused some havoc when he entered the pitch. Osae is so far unknown to me but he seemed like a player to watch. Daniel Kofi Bonsu played at left-wing while Togolese strongman Edem Kodjo Housrouvi attacked from the right. Bonsu is pacy and hard-working but he never looked dangerous. Housrouvi seemed promising at times but his crosses rarely found his teammates. He was eventually substituted for Kweku Andoh, one of the most muscular players I have seen in Ghanaian football. Andoh is primarily a defender but can also play as a right wing-back. Benjamin Fadi (born 16.03.1995) had a very difficult game as a lone striker. Fadi, arguably the most talented player in the squad, is a key player for the Ghana U-20 national football team.