In contemporary times, the management of football/sporting clubs has undergone a paradigm shift. Importantly, association football and its organization have drifted focus from the traditional way- just on the pitch 90-minute play- essentially for the fun of it locally, to a more globalized modern football with economic, social, socio-cultural impact. In view of this failure to embrace this new era of modern football has made a lot of clubs fail to grow and become vibrant in recent years.
Unfortunately, the heart and soul of Asanteman, Asante Kotoko S.C has been a victim of this circumstance. The growth of the Sporting Club has stunted for years now as fortunes also dwindle, while our elite peers continue to grow in strength and shine around the continent. They are growing in wealth, revenue, infrastructure, and reflect in what we accomplished in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, climaxing as continental giants in Africa.
It’s time we rise to chart a new course, make use of innovation, and new ideas. We must start planning and re-strategize to reflect new dynamics and trends to build a formidable sporting club capable of being competitive, winning trophies, and becoming very attractive as well. “It is doable”, it must be done” and it starts now!!
Before looking forward into the future, let us delve into a short historical overview into the roots of the club, hence a quick reflection on how this great club came into existence. It all started when the scenes of football action in the capital city of Ghana caught the fancy eyes and propelled a burning desire in Opanin Kwasi Kuma, an indigenous native of Nyankyerenease in the Kwadaso Municipality of Greater Kumasi. Opanin Kwasi Kuma was then working as a driver for an English soldier in the then Gold Coast capital of Accra. On his return to Kumasi, he formed a football club that initially struggled until advised to position the newly formed club as the national team of Asanteman under the patronage of Manhyia Palace and the then Asantehene, Otumfoɔ Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II in 1935 and named Asante Kotoko. The team then took on the motto and clarion call of Asanteman, ‘kum apem a, apem bɛba’ (to wit – if you kill a thousand, a thousand will re-emerge), a testament of resilience.
Upon the solid foundation laid, the team has not looked back and after 74 years, Asante Kotoko S.C was named by the International Federation for Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), a FIFA acclaimed football statistics outfit as Africa’s club of the Century (1901-2000).
Asante Kotoko S.C is today an institution that transcends the sport of football as it is a sporting club without structures for the other disciplines other than football. It is, however, worth noting that the club is an embodiment of the ancient Asante Kingdom and typifies the might and greatness as well as resilient traditional structures and institutions. The King of Ashanti, the dignified Monarch who occupies the golden stool is the Life Patron of the club and since the days of Otumfoɔ Agyeman Prempeh II have held on as Life Patrons including the current Asantehene, Otumfoɔ Osei Tutu II, providing a solid pillar of leadership and institutional backbone.
True to its traditional attributes, Kotoko’s crest highlights a fearsome porcupine and the club’s slogan of ‘kum apem a, apem bɛba’ which is carved from the traits of the porcupine, with Asanteman colors of yellow, black, and green. Hence, the team should not lack the wherewithal to ensure resilient structures are firmed up to not only bring glory to the club in football but to the Kingdom as well. What is needed is planning and the right mix of people and skills to be assembled.
The club has toiled endlessly and earned a great reputation for itself over the years. People have labored, lives have been ripped apart, many have lost their lives, businesses and precious times have been invested in this team to make it great. Legends have been made, loved, and hated for no reason all because of their unflinching love for this great club. Businesses have been affected, many lives are in worry because of this club.
This generation cannot be the period when this great reputation is trampled upon and be taken for granted. But rather, the great reputation should be translated into a modern form of brand management to bring great gain to the club. Conversely, this time provides an ideal chance to rather translate the Club into a modern form of branding – leadership, and management-wise- to overturn the dwindling fortunes into great gains for the club.
It is the dream of the team at W- Consult, partners, and supporters of the club that we should be visionary in the long-term plan but very strategic in the short-term activities.
Once we get the foundation right, the assembling parts of our journey will fit perfectly and very fast. Time is not on our side, we will have to pause and concentrate on developing a solid plan anchored on data and technology, redevelop a solid foundation, and prepare for effective execution. It is imperative that we critically take this path and ensure all stakeholders are on board.
We strongly believe that Asante Kotoko S.C remains a super brand and has not totally lost recognition in the international world. There are great prospects, the club must wake up to its actualization. Asante Kotoko S.C is undoubtedly the biggest club in Ghana and Africa at large. Having won the international award as the African club of the century, sharing the same stage with Real Madrid who also won Europe’s club of the century. This virtually puts the two teams at the same level in terms of recognition.
The biggest question now surfaces, why does Real Madrid appear more attractive than Asante Kotoko?
The simple answer lies in effective organizational management and modernization of the club and it’s in this vein that W- Consult inspires an effective way through this advocacy, for Asante Kotoko S.C in attaining its status as a super-brand, through;
Modernization of the club, through effective and efficient organizational structures and good management practices. This will involve a clearly defined organogram and roles from the Board level to the Senior and Junior management level. By harnessing design thinking and agile management, Asante Kotoko can make decisions quicker, address challenges effectively, and position the club to attain its objectives.
There is a need to develop an enterprise application system for Kotoko to create the opportunity for the club to collect data and use it for effective decision making. The accumulation of information and its analysis to predict solutions into the future is never a waste of time as constantly organizations and corporations sample out information to gather data through modern sampling techniques, procedures, market research, and observations to develop strategies to transform their organizations into a “Kra bɛhwɛ”.
Aggressive branding, supporter liaison, and digital content development aimed at mobilizing supporters and nontraditional revenue streams for Kotoko. By making use of digital tools and content, Asante Kotoko can build on the brand and deliver content on devices and merchandize to the doorstep of the supporters while we build on a new interface of business ideas that will generate more revenue lines.
Infrastructure development to match the status of Asante Kotoko from an office complex edifice, with administrative offices with varied spaces, hall of fame room, medical & gym space, sports training complex, and many more. This can be done through effective partnership and data-driven discussions with sponsors and all other stakeholders.
The investments are huge, but the results are enormous. As clubs seek both technical and managerial strategies for success, rebranding, modernization, and policy direction are still thematic areas that need critical attention. In this time of the global pandemic, where every sporting activity has ground to a halt, we can capitalize on it and plan effectively to position the club well into the future.” It can be done, it must be done!
Eric Antwi Akuoko
Opoku Gyamfi Clement