The Kotoko Express which used to finance the Porcupine Warriors is at the moment nothing to write home about.
Kotoko Express was made a vibrant commercial entity under Dr. K.K Sarpong with the formation of board of directors to ensure the wellbeing of the official mouthpiece of the most successful club in the history of Ghana domestic football.
It would surprise you to hear that the Kotoko Express for the past two weeks hasn’t been in operation due to debt owed by the newspaper.
Jerome Okyere, the associate editor of Kotoko Express in an interview stated that the newspaper owed the printers of the papers, Graphic Communication and its workers to the tune of GHC 250,000, but the board will meet and resolve the issue on Friday. However, the newspaper won’t be published until all outstanding debts are cleared.
I don’t mostly like comparison, but in this case my hands are tight. I need to zoom into an area I am not comfortable discussing.
The former Executive chairman of Kumasi Asante Kotoko formed a board for Kotoko Express chaired by Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere and other renowned people who have vast ideas on how to run a business entity, including the Group Chief Executive Officer for Databank, Kojo Addae Mensah and the Managing Director of the newspaper, Ken Bediako a veteran journalist.
The newspaper was breaking even and became a viable means of generating funds to support the running of Kumasi Asante Kotoko Football Club. Every month the Express used to give out some thousands of cedis to support the club and it is on record that the club took advantage of such monies to augment their player purchasing power.
However, after the untimely exit of Dr. Sarpong, things have taken a nosedive regarding the running of the Kotoko Express. A one-time profit making venture is now going down day after day creating much inconveniences for the club and in the end turn to embarrass the club.
It is mind boggling and worrying to see the fate of Kotoko Express in shambles to the extent that workers are not motivated to work because they are owed several months by the club. How do they survive in this general economic hardship?
Paul Adu Gyamfi succeeded the former Tema Oil Refinery boss in 2013 and since then, Express has never known peace. This is not the first time the official mouthpiece of the club has been in the news for the wrong reason under the watch of the ex-president of the Ghana Bar Association. In August last year, just about tem months ago, it came up that Kotoko owed Graphic Communication GHC 130,000 and it doesn’t look like it would get better as time goes by, since it is now even more worse off.
The Kotoko Express board was not touched when the new board of the club took over and Kabral Blay Amihere has remained the chairman, but why is the paper struggling to break even? This is a question that the very good people of Kotoko would want to get answers to.
Early on, there was this propaganda that because members on the board are people appointed by Dr. K.K Sarpong they have been ineffective in the era of a Paul Adu Gyamfi led board and Opoku Nti led management team because they are loyal to the former chairman, who left the club with a bitter heart.
I considere it to be a mere propaganda because the people on the board are respected individuals who have their credibility on the line, hence would not on any day undermine the club.
Kojo Addae Mensah has recently resigned from the board and I think it was due to the embarrassment the newspaper was causing the club and his image.
It is either the people running Kotoko Express are no longer interested in the job, or they are not getting the necessary resources to let the newspaper stand on its feet as a viable commercial entity.
As at now, it is the supporters of the club who will pay the price for the mess caused by the newspaper, being denied access to news trending on Kumasi Asante Kotoko. They would want to know how the players who were signed on during the second transfer window are faring and how the team is preparing for the second round of the season. It would not be in good taste for the league to commence on Sunday and on Tuesday Express can’t give a report of how the club produced an away league victory against Techiman City at the Nana Ameyaw Park to end their unbeaten home run, or got stunned by the debutants to replicate the feat chalked by Holy Stars in 1986 which was the last time Kotoko visited Techiman for a league game.
Kotoko claims to be a soccer university, so they should live up to that hype as their peers in Africa like T.P Mazembe, Al Ahly, Zamalek, Raja Casablanca are doing better and such an experience is unheard of in any of those clubs.
It is high time Kotoko fixed the problems associated with the running of the Kotoko Express and save the team from further embarrassment.
BY: Duah Alonso Michael (Dip1)