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2019-05-18  Ghana Premier League

FEATURE: Kotoko and the bribery allegation

News about the so-called bribery allegation levelled against Asante Kotoko spread like wildfire on Thursday, especially on WhatsApp groups, a couple of which I’m part of. First, it all seemed very outrageous when I listened to the ‘bribery audio’, which was sent around like a piece of meat.

Then, after I read stories based on the audio, some of which were overly embellished, it was quite hard for me to place premium on the allegation. It didn’t make sense to me. Not that I think Kotoko is above these acts. I only wondered why any Kotoko official would exhibit foolhardiness by attempting to bribe a referee on the back of #12 and the chaos it has plunged Ghana football into for nearly a year now. 

Thankfully, it wasn’t a Kotoko official or a management member, whose name was mentioned but rather, that of a so-called ‘Kotoko operative’ who I will not give any dignity to on this platform by mentioning his name. You have to forgive me. It’s simply upsetting that, too many times, we have allowed some rogues, parading as die-hard fans to toy with the hard-earned reputation of the club.

The damage the questionable handiwork of these irresponsible individuals does to the club’s image is something we have not yet understood to even think of seeking remedies. I read Kotoko Management’s reaction, which was fine but then, knowing our football terrain, I have to point out that, one doesn’t need to be a club official to bribe or attempt to bribe a referee. Anas’s #12 authenticates that position.

I don’t believe Kotoko would supervise corrupt acts and let me state that, for me, at this stage, Kotoko being pronounced guilty or not guilty, is not my worry. That’s another matter all together. My beef is with how the club continues to suffer from the suffocating ignorance and the appalling misconduct of some ignoramuses, who, with or without Kotoko’s consent, visit all kinds of harm on the club’s reputation. 

What has happened with the bribery allegation is a clear example of how we have literally dined with dogs, and how now, the dogs are right on the dining table, licking us in front of our guests we have invited for dinner. It is shameful and it must be a matter of concern to discerning Kotoko fans.

For instance, how a known hooligan stormed the club’s training ground in April 2017 to sack a coach, even threatening mayhem if the coach resisted, is something that soiled the club’s image irreparably. Why should a club of Kotoko’s stature suffer such embarrassment? From where I sit, there’s utmost certainty, that, this bribery story will end in nothingness but Kotoko’s image, surely, would be injured needlessly in the eyes of right-thinking members of the public.

It’s good that this so-called ‘Kotoko operative’ have been disowned but beyond that, the club must proceed to critically check all who brandish and abuse their relationship with the Chairman for example, and indeed, Management members. Some of these people, who walk in the corridors of power at the club, are nothing but toxic leeches, feeding off the hard-earned reputation of our leaders besides soiling the club’s reputation with their misbehaviour. We shouldn’t allow that to happen.

By: Jerome Otchere