On 3rd June 2018 when the final whistle was blown Obuase to signify the closure of the last premier league game, little did we know that there was an expose on corruption in Ghana football to be premiered in the capital Accra which would throw football into disarray.
This situation forced the former president of the Ghana Football Association Kwesi Nyantakyi resigning from all his football related portfolios. This followed with the introduction of Liason Team which gave birth to Normalization Committee to stabilize the footballing situation in the West African country.
Their first major decision was to disallow Asante Kotoko who had represented Ghana at the CAF Confederations Cup last year from competing this year with the excuse of been in a normalization period when CAF tournament regulation gives the Porcupine Warriors the opportunity to represent Ghana once again because there hasn’t been any competition for the rep to emerge.
This decision was sharply met with wagging disapproval from both management and fans of the club in open defiance of the Normalization Committee which, as the situation got consumed by confusion by quotations of relevant articles allowed flagrant display of Kotoko’s power to win thereby giving them the chance to play in Africa again despite their ill preparedness at that time.
It is an undeniable facts the Ghana’s local league was hit with a sharp decline of spectators and the interest of the masses evaporated due to various reasons. Creating an environment for an appreciable number of soccer fans has become a nightmare for Premier league clubs in recent years apart from encounters between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko.
Since the inception of the normalization period football fans have been denied the opportunities to watch their favourite teams play when all the domestic leagues were truncated. However, Asante Kotoko has bamboozled their way to attract huge fans to the Baba Yara stadium when they started their African campaign.
One will argue that the economy of the country has forced the local clubs to lose their following and others also blame in on the influx high taste of European football. One would need just GHC2 ($0.36) to enjoy an European game at any cinema as compared GHC10 ($1.8) to be at the popular stand of any local league game in Ghana.
With the aforementioned circumstances, the Porcupine Warriors have defied all odds to arise the interest of their faithfuls to cheer them to victory at the Cathedral of Football in Kumasi. The management of the club realized GHC444,000 against Zesco United to set a new record of amount of money gained by any local club through the gate proceeds despite over 100% increased of the gate fees to GHC20 ($3.5), GHC30 ($5.4), GHC50 ($9) and GHC80 ($14.5) respectively.
The team has seen massive rise in patronage and has been able to fill the stands. Kotoko’s performance in bringing fans to the stadium has received applause from many. Consistently, the 23 time Ghanaian Champions has sold out all the 35000 tickets printed notwithstanding Baba Yara Stadium’s 45000 capacity which serves as their home ground.
One of the news outlets of Kotoko which is the Kotoko App generated GHC7,425 ($1,350) in a month which signifies the involvement and performance of Kotoko in this year’s CAF Confederations cup has undoubted boosted their economy of Kumasi. No wonder commercial sex workers in and around the Ashanti regional capital confirmed booming market and were ready to offer promotion to their clients due to the excitements Kotoko’s performance has generated after their hard fought win over Zesco United.
This re-invigoration of the fan base of the club has reaffirmed the stature and the echelon of Asante Kotoko as one of the biggest clubs in Africa rankings among Africa’s elite clubs.
The underscores the assertion that Asante Kotoko isn’t just a football club but a religion. So if you want to be withered away and enjoy some football activities in this fallow period, wait,just make your way to Baba Yara Stadium christened as “Cathedral of Football” in the Ashanti region for ‘worship’.