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Opinions of Friday, 25 November 2016

Columnist: Samuel Owusu-Ansah

Asante Kotoko, which way? A model administration in modern football

“Conversely, a leader can be anyone on the team who has a particular talent, who is creatively thinking out of the box and has a great idea, who has experience in a certain aspect of the business or project that can prove useful to the manager and the team. A leader leads based on strengths, not titles.”

I would use this opportunity to welcome Dr. Kwame Kyei on his appointment as the Executive Chairman of Kumasi Asante Kotoko. This elevation comes with responsibilities, commitment, collaboration, coordination, cooperation as well as spiritual and physical efforts.

I do not intent pre-empting the impending arduous task but this indeed will go a long way to necessitate or serve as a blueprint to align the visions and aspirations with the status quo. The intention is not to teach him what it's supposed to be done but to suggest several models that could be taken into consideration.

Foremost, it is imperative that the Chief Executive outlines the strategic plans for the club. Afterwards, the short term, medium term and long term plans must be clearly spelt out so as to stay clear of plan duplication.

From hindsight, speculations are ripe that infrastructural development will be at the forefront of his administration. That probably is at the bosom of long term plan. Such a promise is realistic but is it achievable in the short term? Possibly not.

In the short term, I expect Dr Kyei investigate and ascertain some major causes of the failures of the past Board of the club. Was it indiscipline or a lackadaisical attitude of management and players of the club? Was it financial or motivational (i.e. intrinsic or extrinsic)?

These issues can easily be dealt with. All he has to do is to devote ample time to uproot this canker. Perhaps he ought to speak with the players on one-on-one basis. Give them the free reign to honestly speak about their problems. It could be accommodation, as minor as their inability to settle their utility bills or a friction between management and players or between players and coach. Who knows?

Moreover, it might be consequential to offload fringe players who are simply making the numbers. The squad number should be reduced reasonably, probably 25. There is no gainsaying keeping a large squad that struggles to churn out good results. Much less, a player that plays 10 out of 50 games a season.

Critically, the salaries and bonuses of players and management should be looked into and as a matter of urgency be upwardly adjusted. This will ultimately improve the enthusiasm and whip up interest in the club and games alike.

This brings to mind the management styles he might have to employ. He would have about 6 or so management styles at his disposal. He can engage the paternalistic, autocratic, democratic,laissez faire, transactional or transformational styles. It has to be stated that there are times one would have to employ two or three styles to effectively achieve managerial success.

In the medium term, a Management Team should be set up with an oversight responsibility over the day to day running of the administration. Their rules of engagement should be clearly spelt out with a defined mandate which is realistic and time bound.

The team would have to be adequately remunerated to motivate them to give off their best. Anything short of this will give room for lacklustre attitude. In that stead, there will be no margin for error. Retain them if they achieve their targets, relieve them of their positions or make necessary adjustments if they flounder, in simplicita.

It might also be appropriate to appoint an eloquent and tactically astute Sporting Manager, Director of Football and Professional Scouts. Aside ensuring the smooth running of the club, they will be allowed to comb the world over to unearth quality talents to augment or to complement the squad.

Furthermore, supporters should be given the opportunity to own the club. Shares should be floated where supporters can purchase and be part owners of the club. This could accrue some substantial amount of money to the club. The belongingness could entice them to contribute their quota.

Evidently, Kotoko has over 1 million supporters in Ghana alone. Imagine 1 million supporters contributing GH¢5.00 every month as subscription fee. It will amount to GH¢5,000,000.00 monthly. In a year, that would be GH¢60,000,000.00. Trust me, this money could cater for management and players’ salaries, bonuses, welfare as well as taking care of other overhead costs.

That is how professional clubs are run. A typical example is T. P. Mazembe of D. R. Congo. Governor Moise Katumbi Chapwe has been excellent in moral and financial support over the years. For his part, he revived the club that had gone extinct and was languishing in the middle of their local league. They are currently one of the most successful clubs in the world.

Infrastructural development has been mooted in some circles. However, I will place it in the long term vision of the club. It involves a lot of investment. Fortunately for Kotoko, Adarko-Jachie training facility is available to them. It requires a major facelift that befits the status of Kotoko.

This places some responsibilities on the leadership of the club to walk the talk. It is downgrading for a club like Kumasi Asante Kotoko to come along all these years without a stadium of their own, but even more disheartening without a personalised world class training facility.

To sum it up, Dr. Kwame Kyei is an astute business man with a vast experience in management. Supporters and well-meaning Ghanaians are enthusiastic about his appointment for good reasons. They expect him to bring some spark and verve into the club.

Another plus to his administration will be his ability to unite the teeming supporters. It is noteworthy to point out that some have developed apathy towards the club and there are factions in Kotoko now culminating in the low attendances over the years. Kotoko is killing Kotoko internally because of sections of supporters loyalty to past leaders. He has an opportunity to woo them into the club as a neutral.

Kotoko is no more the Fabulous club but the journey to re-join the top clubs in Africa starts from now,it won't be easy but being firm and forward looking can get the job done and well too.