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Sports Features of Tuesday, 4 September 2018


Opinion: I told you so!

Every Napoleon has his Waterloo indeed! So the Kenichi empire crumbled in far away Casablanca last Wednesday.

Hitherto, the Japanese maverick had shown promise as a good gaffer to many a follower of the Ghanaian game. However, the ignominious 0-6 drubbing of the Ghanaian champions, Aduana Stars, in the night skies of the Moroccan capital was an anti-climax. Sadly, it was the heaviest defeat by Aduana since joining the elite division eight years ago.

Before that last CAF Confederation Cup assignment, the signs were clear on the wall that Aduana would not survive Raja, considering the circumstances which surrounded their trip. And so it happened to the out-of-sorts Ghanaian champions.

Prior to the team's departure to Morocco, Kenichi Yatsuhashi, or Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, as a popular Japanese series is called, had thrown in the towel by announcing his exit from the club immediately after the game.

Deep within him, the Japanese thought not even a miracle could save Aduana who had to send only 14 players for such an important game. That alone was enough to suggest that all was not well with the team.

Obviously, an unfortunate tsunami had begun building up when the Ghanaian representatives sent 15 players to DR Congo for their preview away encounter against AS Vita Club and eventually lost 1-2. The die was cast when Kenichi lost his second straight game against Asec Mimosas at Dormaa-Ahenkro of all places a fortnight ago.

In less than two months, Kenichi's unceremonious romance with Aduana was over, leaving both parties to lick their wounds and count their losses. The sad and regrettable experience left in its wake the reality that a rather promising campaign had suddenly whittled into thin air. What might have been the cause?

The straw that broke the camel's back, as alleged by Kenichi in his interview with the Graphic Sports before the Raja game, could perhaps be management's undue interference in player selection. Kenichi claimed that he did not select the 14 players for the match. If that is true, what might have been the cause, and why did Kenichi not resign in disapproval but went ahead to coach players he did not pick?

The sudden turn of events raises more questions, considering the manner in which the same management dramatically signed on the Japanese in a matter of hours to replace Yusif Abubakar, who won the second league title for the club in eight years last season.

I stand vindicated for cautioning Aduana for opting for such a big gamble by going in for a such a rolling stone coach in Kenichi to fix the broken pieces on July 11, 2018. A leopard cannot shed its spots! Today, the chicken have come home to roost.

Of course, the records were there for all to see and the management of Aduana Stars should have known better. Granted that the Law of Diminishing Returns had set in after winning the last league, hence the call by the teeming supporters for Coach Yusif's dismissal, Kenichi was certainly not the right choice! No wonder he won only one out of the four CAF Confederation Cup games he supervised. How ridiculous!

The true colours of Kenichi had been consistently consistent as was evident in his brief stints with Accra Hearts of Oak, Ifeanyi Ubah of Nigeria and Tema-based Inter Allies. Perhaps, Kenichi himself might have had enough of that flaw, hence the haste to fly back to his native country with his wife once Aduana make their tickets ready. That should be a lesson for all Ghanaian clubs.

Beyond Kenichi, it is obvious that the rather promising Aduana empire is crumbling, if not down already. The food poisoning bit, whether true or fabricated and player indiscipline which has eaten deep into the set-up all attest to the fact that the club needs a thorough soul-searching towards a new managerial and technical direction.

Anytime a club plateaus, that is what happens. At least, Aduana have been competitive for the past eight years, for God's sake. It is time for stock-taking!

Once the pride of Dormaa is still resourceful, all they need to do is to invest time and resources to rebuild with young talented players who have a bright future. I will humbly advise Nana Dormaahene to avoid spending a fortune on so-called 'stars' who have nothing to offer.

That, together, with the appointment of an experienced developmental coach, can make Aduana Stars a championship side again sooner than later.

No panic reaction, Nana!