Asante Kotoko - Our History
By Dr. Isaac Billy Annan (Kuuku Annan)
The history of Kumasi Asante Kotoko states that an Ashanti, from Nyankyerenease, near Kwadaso, a suburb of Kumasi, found his way to Accra in the early 1920's only to become a chauffeur to a Colonel Ross, an English soldier, in those colonial days.
His name was Kwasi Kumah. Soccer historians give Kwasi Kumah credit for having returned from Accra to begin the formation of his first football club named Ashanti United in 1924, which was later renamed Kumasi Titanics. Out of that lineage KUMASI ASANTE ASANTE KOTOKO FOOTBALL CLUB was subsequently founded in 1935. Consequently, Otumfuo Nana Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, Asantehene (1931-1970), became the first Life/Chief Patron of the Club.
Certainly Fabulous Kumasi Asante Kotoko has done more to put Ghana's name in the soccer records than any other Ghanaian club. Arguably, Asante Kotoko FC has over the years been recognized as the peerless pioneers for its contributions to the development and popularity of the game in Africa as a whole. For instance, during Asante Kotoko's first tour of Europe in the late1960's, the team helped immensely to introduce Ghanaian and African soccer to the rest of the world through the individual brilliance of the players, the quality of soccer and the excellent organization demonstrated by the club s management. Thus, in the annals of soccer in Ghana and Africa, Fabulous Kumasi Asante Kotoko is the true: "primus inter pares". Indeed the former Director of Sports in Ghana, Mr. Ohene Djan, aptly described Asante Kotoko FC as: "...The club over whose popularity the sun will never set".
It is worth noting that Asante Kotoko's numerous achievements did not happen by accident. Since the club was placed under the custody and trusteeship of the then Asantehene Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, his successors: Asantehene Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, and the current incumbent Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II have provided worthy ownership, leadership and guidance to the team. Thus, the Asantehenes have been crucial anchors of peace and stability for the team in era where many teams have experienced turmoil in leadership, and several other teams are now defunct, as a result of leadership crises. Over the years, the club has had the honor and privilege to be guided by several patrons, executive chairmen, directors and other administrators, who are visionaries in soccer philosophies and artistry; and have shown dedicated to the cause and progress of the club.
Among the most distinguished soccer leaders who have graced the helm of Asante Kotoko's affairs include Mr. L.Y. Asamoah, Mr. Charles de Graft Dickson, Mr. J.D. Amoah, Teacher Frimpong, Oheneba Nana Osei Yaw, Mr. B.K. Edusei, Mr. Albert Owusu-Ansah, 'Uncle' John Aidoo, Mr. Yaw Frimpong (alias YF ), Nana Darko Kufour, Dr. Kofi Dzane-Selby, Nana Kwaku Mensah, Nana Baffour Awuah V (the late Bantamahene), Mr. S.K. Mainoo, Mr. Daniel Kyei, Mr. Issam John Moukarzel, Dr. J.K. Brobbey-Kyei, Mr. F.D. Nsiah-Asare aka Nana Gyamaning Asare (the late chief of Kumasi, Asafo), Mr. Simms Kofi Mensah, Mr. Ernest Yaw Bawuah, Mr. D.K. Ofori Nuako (alias Pao ), Mr. J.A. Kufour, Nana Akosa Yiadom, Dr. J.K Kankam, Professor S.K. Awuah, Mr. Herbert Mensah, Mr. P.V. Obeng, Mr. S.S. Appiah, Mr. Assad Mallah, Mr. Frank Apeagyei, Mr. Osei Yaw Akoto, Mr. E.K. Adu, Mr. George Aduse-Poku (aka Georgido), Nana Yaw Owusu, and Mr. Aboagye Agyei, among numerous others.
Kotoko has also had the good fortune of being able to count on great benefactors and philanthropists who did not serve on the club s Management or Board of Directors, but contributed immense financial and material support. They include Nana Baffour Akoto, Mr. Krobo Edusei (a Minister of State in the First Republic Government of Ghana), and his wife Mrs. Mary Edusei (nee Mary Akuamoah), Mr. B.M. Kufour, Mr. Martin Appiah-Danquah, Mr. Peter Mainoo-Appiah, Mr. Desmond, Mr. Simone Naja David, and current ones like Mr. Osei Kwame (aka 'Despite'), Mr. Kwabena Kesse (aka 'Kessben'), and Mr. Kennedy Adjapong (aka 'Kenpong'), just to name a few.
The immense success of the team has also depended on several distinguished technical handlers notably Mr. Josef Ember, Mr. Lajos Kontha, Mr. Amonoo-Neizer, Mr. Ben Kuofie, Mr. C.K. Gyamfi, Mr. E.J. Aggrey-Fynn, Mr. Thomasz Kertesz, Mr. Asebi Boakye, Rev. Mr. Osei Kofi, Mr. Malik Jabir, Mr. Ibrahim Sunday, Mr. E.K. Afranie, Mr. Ron Heckman, Mr. Burkhardt Ziese, Mr. Ernst Middendorp, Mr. Ian Porterfield, Mr. Ralph Zumdick, Alhaji Yahaya Gibrine, Mr. Augustine Omono Asamoah, Mr. Awudu Nuhu, and other excellent soccer tacticians and trainers, including the current incumbent coach Mr. Hans Walter Dieter Schmidt.
Throughout its history, the club has been graced by the presence of distinguished players who match up gamely as among the very best in soccer worldwide. In fact, the long list of Asante Kotoko players chronicles in the 'who-is-who' in the game globally. Against all odds and criticisms, Asante Kotoko exhibited tremendous foresight pioneered the practice of annual player transfer for fees in Ghana to augment their existing crop of players - a phenomenon that is a now common practice in professional soccer globally. In fact, those who lacked the foresight, and criticized Asante Kotoko in the past (for its pioneering spirits), have now embraced the practice of players transfers as if it were their own how times change! Numerous players who have graced the famous red jerseys of the team are recognized worldwide as extraordinary players who could/can compete in any soccer league in the world.
Indeed, over thirty years ago Osei Kofi a product of Asante Kotoko soccer excellence was offered a transfer fee of over thirty-thousand (30,000) U.K. pounds, an amount that was among the highest for any player in that era and would (even by conservative estimates), be in the millions in present value. Indeed Osei Kofi is recognized in soccer circles as arguably the best African soccer player of all time, and certainly the best ever produced by Ghana. Apart from Osei Kofi, the list of other illustrious Asante Kotoko players is certainly an exhaustive one, including outstanding ones like (but not limited to): James Adjei, C.K. Gyamfi, Baba Yara, Kwaku Duah 'Jasper', Kwao Baffoe, Kwame Adarkwa, Wilberforce Kwadwo Mfum, Mohammed Salisu, Robert Mensah, Albert Essuman, Ibrahim Sunday, Jabir Malik, Dan Oppong, Joe Sam, James Kuuku Dadzie, Abdul Razak, Opoku Afriyie, Opoku Nti, Papa Arko, Albert Asase, Addae Kyenkyehene, Francis Kumi, Kwasi Appiah, Frimpong Mansoh and Joe Debrah, to mention just a few.
Over the years several other players have been produced by and graduated from Asante Kotoko the proverbial Soccer University of Ghana and Africa. Many of those players moved on to lucrative and successful professional careers throughout the world; others have moved on to become world class soccer coaches, team managers and trainers; and yet others have proceeded to successful careers in business, academia and other professions. In fact, the list of Asante Kotoko's outstanding players is too long to list in these pages, and would be therefore deferred to a separate publication dedicated to that subject alone.
Asante Kotoko boasts of the largest fan support in Ghana, and one of the clubs with the largest army of supporters in Africa, and dare we say the world. The true fans around the world who know anything about club soccer in Africa obviously know more about KUMASI ASANTE KOTOKO than any other African club. Undeniably, the success of the club hinges on its army of followers ranging from the fanatical brand to the genuine sympathizers, as well as their leaders and organizers.
Over the years, several dedicated and indefatigable leaders of Asante Kotoko supporters unions and Circles Committees have included Opanin Siabour, Opanin Kwasi Dampranie of Agona Swedru, Opanin Kyei of Kumasi Tafo, Madam Felicia Agyeiwaah, Madam Helena Cobbinah, Kotooro, Kwabena Amoah, and Mr. Fredua Agyemang, Mr. Hope Anderson Agbolosoo, Mr. Agyemang Prempeh, to the present-day Kotoko loyalists including Lydia Nuamah, Umar Abdullai, Honorable Abilele, Adusei, Ali Maradona, Cecilia Adu-Poku, Prince Addai, Turboman and numerous others; and indeed, ALL the great supporters, who I affectionately refer to as the 'Teeming Red Army of the Faithfuls', ranging from the young and spanning the very young, the middle aged, to the old and the very old; of both past and present generations.
Staffers at the Kotoko Secretariat have also been very influential and key in keeping the administrative aspects of the club running smoothly. Sincere thanks go to gallant but unsung heroes like Mr. Achulo, Mr. A.K. Nyantakyi, Mr. James Dampranie, Mr. Yahaya Gibrine, Mr. Awudu Seidu (chauffeur), the late Mr. Osei Kofi aka 'Osei Driver' and Mr. Emmanuel Owusu.
These are but very few facts that underline Asante Kotoko's supremacy in Ghanaian and African soccer, and gives credence to the status of Kumasi Asante Kotoko as the most Fabulous Club of Ghana and Africa, and dare we say - the world. The history and achievements of Asante Kotoko the club has elevated its place in society beyond the world of soccer. The club is a symbol of pioneering spirit of its leaders, and an emblem of what is best and excellent in Ghana and Africa. Simply put, Asante Kotoko is a great institution, a phenomenon!
Over the years, the various management teams of Asante Kotoko have always recognized the indefatigable supporters of the club as the backbone of its progress and glories. Nevertheless, the challenges are been many and tough. Therefore, in the efforts to restore the club to its deserved glories the true supporters and teeming followers of the club must join in the "journey to victory", with the express support of the Life Patron, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
This is all for the cause of Fabulous Kumasi Asante Kotoko FC. Now is the time! Let the Porcupine Warriors arise and shine! Asante Kotoko will prevail and succeed!
Fabulous, The Best!
Fabulous, The Greatest!!