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Tuesday, 12 January 2021 09:45

BUDU'S CORNER: Why Kwame Opoku is becoming a Cult Hero at Asante Kotoko Featured

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Asante Kotoko fans pine for the glory days when they used to be a force to reckon with not in Ghana only but on the continent as well, when winning silverware at the highest levels was achievable and when they had the sort of committed and talented heroes that other teams in their division would kill for.

 

There’s no doubt that supporters of the 'Porcupine Warriors', currently facing decades in the doldrums of continental silverware, miss the halcyon days. The Kumasi club last won an African title in 1983 when they defeated Egyptian giants Al Ahly 1-0 in the finals.  Forward Opoku Nti scored that important goal to win the trophy for Ibrahim Sunday’s side.

The famous red and white shirt of Kotoko has graced the shoulders of many legendary footballers throughout the club’s rich, successful history. 
 
Varying personalities, profiles, and backgrounds put this shirt on over the club’s storied 85-year legacy, administering an array of different playing styles and methods of expression on the pitch.
 
 The club is credited with allowing local talents the opportunity to hone their skills. The likes of Ibrahim Sunday, winner of African Footballer for the year, 1970, Abdul Razak (1983) and Robert Mensah, arguably one of the continent’s greatest goalkeepers of all time were once players of this great club.
 
Generations after them have struggled to replicate this feat albeit some wonderful players. Presently, the Kotoko team can boast of highly talented individuals. Some have already staked their claim in the team with some struggling to find their feet. 
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Out of the lot, one player who is gradually attracting all the attention is Kwame Opoku. The former Nkoranza Warriors forward has scored five goals in six outings in the eight-week-old Ghanaian Premier League.
 
Kwame Opoku is a clever player. He tries to do better and has done better. His ascent has been imperious and extraordinary. From a young age, Opoku was a precocious talent, the sort of irrepressible creative savant that seems to perceive the game in slow motion and makes a mockery of the rigidity of convention.
 
Arriving at a big club and with no experience at Ghana’s premier division, as is dealing with the pressure of playing for Kotoko, yet the highest compliment one can give to Kwame Opoku is to admit that he instantly looked like he belonged to the team. 
 
He can shoot with both feet, and his finishing is strong. An unselfish player, he likes to get in positions to assist his team-mates and create chances. It is not only his goals that endear him to his manager, team-mates, and fans. It is his all-around style. 
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He plays with a vivacity, power, and cleverness that uplift those around him and enable him to thrive in a variety of positions. Not since Eric Bekoe have Kotoko had a striker so adept to hold-up-play but what makes him valuable is his work rate.
 
Simply put, Asante Kotoko is a better team whenever the 21-year-old is in the lineup. 
 
In Opoku, the Porcupine Warriors have a player they can build around, a player already at the level they crave to return to. He remains the club’s most influential and consistent star. He isn’t one for the future, he’s thriving already.
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