A few weeks ago, Zdravko Lugarisic was the toast of the fans. They were singing praises all over. In fact, some ladies would lay their clothes on the floor to cajole him to walk on to victory.
He was the darling boy; the epicentre of techniques; a master tactician. Ghana’s version of Antonio Conte of Chelsea’s fame. A silver lining in a thick crowd in simplicita.
He expertly woo the teaming supporters into believing his tactical formation. The 3-4-2-1 was undoubtedly hailed as near-perfect formation.
Who could begrudge him?
His players were annihilating and leaving defenders for dead with some swashbuckling performances. He consequently won seven out of the the first ten matches (friendly matches included) drawing the other three.
How time flies? Within a twinkle of the eye, he had been caricatured to symbiotically create a humongous humour.
Out of the blue, disaster struck, losing to a very contentious Atinga of Hearts of Oaks’ penalty at the Ohene-Djan Stadium. He was eventually down and out without a shadow of doubt.
Unfortunately, the performance of the team took a downward spiral amassing only two points from a possible twelve. Alarm bells started ringing yet he remained nonchalant and stayed true to his tactics. The hallmark of unjustified stubbornness.
Little did he know the clock was ticking and the time bomb was just about detonating. He should have been informed that once the vociferous and demanding supporters come at you, then your head should be rocking.
One of such extreme mayhem was the condemnable action of some staunch supporters who resisted the coach from entering the training facilities at Adarko-Jachie. He should have known his appointment was not cast in stones.
Perhaps he should have been given ample to time to stamp his authority and tactics on the playing body. The results-oriented fans could not wait any longer.
But just how do you blame a coach if his players are squandering unpardonable chances for fun? Does it fit?
Probably, he should have paraded a more attacking team when there were public outcries about his defensive-minded approach. Though I have a different opinion about that.
How do you describe a tactic as utterly defensive when Ashitey Ollenu, Emmanuel Gyamfi and Baba Mahama are playing behind Yakubu Mohammed? At times the players should take the flak for such lacklustre performances.
I would rather blame the below-par performance on the conversion rate of the attackers. Nine goals in eleven matches is a bad return for a team of Kotoko’s stature. Even the strongest believers will be concerned.
Assistant Coach, Godwin Ablordey takes the reins for the time being. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
He should be mindful of the fact that only an attacking Kotoko that displays scintillating performances and scores goals for fun can get the supporters back to the stadia.
A word of caution: he should device amenable strategies that are tenable to churn out results. Tinkering with the formation depending on the opposition could do the trick.
After all, Real Madrid or Barcelona switches from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 and even 3-5-2 to counter the opposition’s system or formation.
These days coaches are very dynamic and flexible. Remember, those vociferous supporters, as it were, would require nothing else but ‘handsome wins.’
If he can get good results atop good performances, it is a bonus. However, he would not be forgiven if he fails to win games whether or not he is Kotoko through-and-through.
As it stands, the love for the club is unflinching. Yet, he could do no wrong if he can lift the spirits of those who are crestfallen with some breathtaking wins.
Is it going to be a déjà vu or business as usual (maintaining the status quo)? Time will be the best judge.
I entreat the die-hard supporters to rally behind the team. They need them more than ever. The stand-in coach will thrive on their backing.
There is still a handful of games before the end of the first round. He can turn the fortunes of the team around.
The motto is unflagging: “wo kum apem a, apem bɛba” which literally means, “when you kill a thousand, a thousand will come forward.”
Need I say anything more?
By: Samuel Owusu-Ansah