Ghanaian music icon Daddy Lumba (real name: Charles Kwadwo Fosu), who turned 56 on Tuesday, is so good that he could spin a song out of any topic. One of the high-life legend’s favorite themes, going through his rich catalogue of hits, is about how easily money — or, rather, a lack/too little of it — could get in the way of finding, and keeping, true love (yea, I know which song(s) you’re thinking of).
That’s just the sort of situation Asante Kotoko, Ghana’s most successful club, finds itself in right now, even as the prospect of finally securing the signature of Asamoah Gyan — Ghana’s best footballer of a generation and an accomplished forward — draws into focus. This wasn’t supposed to be so hard, as the romance between player and club — flirting, fluttering of eyelashes, and all– had been simmering for a while; Gyan has made no secret of his life-long affection for Kotoko, and of how he’d love to play for the Porcupine Warriors someday. Now, it appears he might be ready to take that step — but at quite a cost to Kotoko: $500,000, says the grapevine.
It’s way more than the club has ever paid for a footballer, hence genuine concerns arise over whether Kotoko could find that sum (yes, they could), and whether it is even morally right to ponder such a grandiose experiment amid a financially crippling pandemic that has seen staff of the club persuaded to have wages slashed (no, it isn’t). Considered from a purely business perspective, though, such an investment could prove the making, or undoing, of Kotoko’s new era. It could easily go boom, or bust, depending on how the move is engineered.
You see, Gyan — the player — doesn’t hold much value for that kind of money: he turns 35 soon, with his best years well behind him, and precious little left in the tank. His very presence would add lots of star power to Kotoko, yes, inspiring awe — if not downright fear — in opponents, and fetching a few goals here and there… but that’s just about all that Gyan brings to the pitch.
Gyan — the brand — is an entirely different proposition, however. He represents the kind of player Kotoko hasn’t had in years — maybe ever — and could, with a solid plan and some skill, be built up into a
white elephant golden goose that would keep laying eggs long after his adventure in Oseikrom is lived out.
The appointment of the brilliant Dentaa Amoateng as Kotoko’s Diaspora and International Relations Manager — an office the club never had previously — is a loud statement of intent, regarding the heights to which the freshly installed Nana Yaw Amponsah-led management wishes to propel Kotoko; bringing Gyan on board, and harnessing his magnetic global appeal, would be a pretty bold follow-up.
Now, I don’t have the details about how all of this would work out. That’s not my job; if it were — given the many other ways in which half-a-million dollars could improve Kotoko — this is a gamble I probably wouldn’t take… unless, of course, there is some fail-safe logic making sense — and a decent profit — of it all.
NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH