On Sunday, Asanteman marked the 20th anniversary of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s ascent to the Golden Stool, amid pomp and pageantry, at the Manhyia Palace. Along with the throne, the 16th Asantehene also inherited the weighty responsibility as Owner and Life Patron of Asante Kotoko, the kingdom’s premier club and traditionally Ghana’s biggest. Below, Daily Mail GH picks Kotoko’s five most notable feats under the monarch.
1. FIRST LEAGUE TITLE IN A DECADE
When the current Asantehene was enstooled, Kotoko hadn’t won the league title in six seasons; it would take another four years before the Porcupine Warriors wrested the Ghana Premier League crown from hitherto dominant Hearts of Oak, their first in the professional era. Thanks in part to the tactical genius of club legend Karim Abdul Razak and the controversial but rewarding acquisition of a certain Charles Taylor from Hearts, Kotoko ended that depressing barren spell and has collected five more league championships afterwards.
2. . . . AND THREE IN A ROW
Half of the six league titles captured by Kotoko in the current millennium came in succession, from 2011 to 2014, when the team was undoubtedly the land’s supreme force. With that, Kotoko became the first — and only — side to triumph consecutively since ending Hearts’ own unbroken run of six straight conquests in 2002.
3. CAF CUP FINALS
Twice during the Asantehene’s tenure has Kotoko contested the final of Caf inter-club competitions, ultimately missing out on glory at home on both occasions via the narrowest of margins. Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club were Kotoko’s final opponents after a remarkable run in the 2002 Caf Cup Winners’ Cup, and the former departed Kumasi with the trophy only on the away-goal rule. A couple of years later, the Cup Winners’ Cup was merged with the Caf Cup, producing the Caf Confederation Cup. The first edition of the new competition saw Kotoko cross swords with arch-rivals Hearts in a rare inter-club football duel which, following a shootout that settled stalemates in both legs, had the Phobians nick it.
4. IFFHS AFRICAN CLUB OF THE CENTURY
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, given he ascended the throne only in 1999, had little to do with the successes Kotoko achieved in the century which ended that year. Still, it was some 11 years into his reign, at The World’s Football Gala 2010 in London, that Kotoko got decorated as Africa’s finest club of the 20th century by the International Football Federation of History and Statistics, having reached an impressive seven continental finals and won two.
5. ADAKO-JACHIE TRAINING FACILITY
After decades spent utilizing rented grounds, Kotoko finally secured their own training facilities not many years ago at Adako-Jachie, near Kumasi. Facelifts have since been made, and plans are underway to expand the property into a truly ultra-modern complex – the crowning glory of which would be the first stadium Kotoko has ever owned — befitting a club of Kotoko’s status, with financial and moral support from the Asantehene. Piaaaw!
Sammie Frimpong — Daily Mail GH