Why C.K. Akonnor Will Thrive At Kumasi Asante Kotoko Featured
17 Oct

Why C.K. Akonnor Will Thrive At Kumasi Asante Kotoko

Charles Kwablan Akonnor recently replaced Paa Kwesi Fabin as head coach of Kumasi Asante Kotoko. He’s already played two high-profile friendly matches- losing to the Black Stars and recording a resounding 3-1 victory over Burkinabe outfit, Save The African Child.
 
Sekondi Eleven Wise provided his first opportunity as head coach, and from there he moved onto giants Hearts of Oak, Dreams FC and Ashgold and it was here that he truly made his mark.
 
What Asante Kotoko possess is a midfield-heavy squad of possession footballers and a host of talented, hard-working young players ready to embrace a high-pressing philosophy. C.K.Akonnor is the perfect fit for this club.
 
During spells at Dreams and Ashgold, Akonnor showed himself to be a bold and aggressive attacking coach, favouring confrontational tactics that prioritise playing on the front foot; pressing high all over the pitch; and maximising space with the counter-press. 
 
At their best, Akonnor's Ashgold were not unlike Bashir Hayford's Liverpool, making intelligent (and clearly precisely trained) runs to create clever passing triangles in the opposition half, based on winning the ball high in a blitz of activity.
 
At Asante Kotoko, there is an excellent spine for Akonnor to build around. Felix Annan has been superb this term and is arguably the best goal custodian domestically (His recent Black Stars call-up corroborates this claim), while Agyemang Badu is a confident ball-playing defender who would surly thrive in Akonnor’s more progressive system. Richard Senanu is the sort of athletic box-to-box midfielder Akonnor loves, while both Opoku and Keita should thrive in the dual number ten roles of Akonnor’s 4-2-3-1.
 
What's more, full-backs are given the freedom to bomb forward by him, meaning Amos Frimpong and Daniel Darkwa have the chance to return to their best form, plus there is plenty of energy and determination in the exciting attacking trio of Songne Yacouba, Obed Owusu, and Emmanuel Gyamfi. 
 
In the former Black Stars skipper’s setup, players improve both technically and tactically, with solid defensive principles creating the ideal platforms for midfielders and attackers to excel. Akonnor’s teams generally defend well. He’s a coach in the purest form.
 
Having set out his stall from the get-go is a positive sign at a club where the fans can place immense pressure on those in charge. 
 
His partnership with Akakpo Patron will allow him to grow like never before, but he will also need that toughness in order to face the criticism  that will inevitably come when result don’t go as planned.
 
This is a club in no-man's-land, stuck in the purgatorial space between the top six African greats and the rest, needing big ideas and bold tactics if they are to take the next huge step.
Akonnor is the man to do it. 
 
Not only will he answer the fans' complaints by bringing an attacking brand to Baba Yara, but his particular tactical preferences ensure he will only need to make minor changes to the playing staff rather than the complete overhaul that many have predicted.
 
With his Agro/Akonnor ball, this could very well be the period that Kotoko, and Akonnor, announce themselves as major players.
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