AL-SMITH: Robert Mensah’s death and Sunday’s Kotoko 3-0 shame

first_imgChelsea XI: Michael Sai- Kelvin KP Boateng, Paul Aidoo, Osei Agyemang, Rashed Abdul- Bennett Ofori, Samuel Kyere, Prince Gyamfi, Stephen Baffour Asare- Kofi Owusu, Asiwome Fumador.–CLICK TO READ: Matchday 23 league preview –Gary Al-Smith is assisting Joy Sports editor. Follow on Twitter: @garyalsmith. Get more from the team with the #JoySports hashtag on Facebook/Twitter How long has it been since Kotoko lost by three clear goals in Kumasi?It’s neither 40 nor 45 years.It’s actually 44.Berekum Chelsea’s 3-0 victory against the Porcupine Warroris on Sunday made them the first team to beat Kotoko by that margin at home since 1971.Various media reports have had it that it was Cornerstones who last beat Kotoko at home. This is incorrect because it was a 1970 league match that was indeed played in Kumasi, but not at the then Kumasi Sports Stadium.The game was played at the home of Corners. The team that was actually responsible for that piece of history was Akotex, who had been newly promoted from the lower tier. The Kotoko side that was beaten was studded, which made the defeat even more peculiar.There were greats like Malik Jabir, Ben Acheampong, Abukari Gariba, Bobie Ansah and Essel Mensah. Others were Akuamoah Boateng, Ohene Brenya and Yaw Sam.  But that was not the only thing that made that 1971 defeat unforgettable.Robert Mensah’s disgrace Ghana’s football folklore will never be complete without a mention of the great Robert Mensah (above, extreme right), perhaps the best goalie the country has ever produced.Having joined the Porcupines in 1969 following critically acclaimed performances for Dwarfs, Robert had competition from the equally good Essel Mensah for the goalkeeping slot. But due to Robert’s reputation, he was given the gloves for the derby game with Cornerstones.It ended in disgrace following the three goals he conceded. 3-0 it ended.Essel was given the position again, a job he handled with aplomb until he was called for national duty. Essel, a miltary man, had seen his excellence for Kotoko get him a callup to be part of the Ghana team at the Africa Military Games in Burkina Faso.This was a great chance for Robert to reclaim the position, and he grabbed it. Kotoko had been on a good run in the African Clubs Championships and the quarterfinals was nigh. Due to Essel’s absence and Robert’s recent good form, he was the inevitable choice to keep the posts against Stationary Stores of Nigeria.This was in 1970. And Robert excelled.By this time, the goalkeeping position was his, and he dispelled any doubts about it with a mesmerizing two-legged show against Young Africans of Tanzania in the semis. Kotoko won and qualified for the final, where they beat Englebert. Ghana had produced an African champion at club level. Fast forwardAfter winning the African title, Kotoko had to contend with the ongoing league as well.Fans were desperate for revenge against Akotex and the return leg was slated for Somanya.But on that trip, there was no Robert Mensah. The great man, at this time 32 years, was the reigning best ‘keeper in Africa. However, he was unhappy with the way his club had treated him.  Following his heroics in Africa which had led to the win of the 1970 African Clubs Championships, Kotoko had promised Robert a car but it was delaying. Ibrahim Mahama, a former board member of Kotoko, told the Graphic Sports in 2013 that Robert had been very peeved with the turn of events. Mahama recalls that a few days before he passed on, Robert kept telling him to let the Kotoko management honour their promise.“Kotoko must give me what is due me now. They shouldn’t wait till I die before they come organising a flamboyant funeral,” Robert had said, according to Mahama who was then in charge of Kotoko welfare.In pursuit of his claim from the management of Kotoko, Robert abandoned camp as he refused to keep the Kotoko post, and in the words of Mahama: “I pursued Robert to Tema and finally persuaded him to keep the post in a match against their bogey club, Akosombo Akotex, at Somanya.”Mahama said he met Robert at a drinking spot at Community Four in Tema, and just when they were about to board a taxi from the spot, Robert saw two young men, namely Nana Ahwere and Melfah engaged in a fight. Robert went between them in his bid to separate the two men. But in the process, Melfah – who broke one of the bottles in order to gouge his opponent – rather ended up stabbing Robert in the stomach. Robert fell on the broken bottle, the other end of it still stuck in his stomach. “We rushed Robert to the Tema General Hospital, and he was immediately sent to the operating theatre. In what appeared a successful operation, Robert was brought back the next day looking well, but unfortunately he told me that he would not make it. So he directed me to take his famous goalkeeping accoutrements, including his cap, boots and jersey, and give them to his son Papa, who is now a Prison officer at Ghana Prisons,” Mahama recounted in an interview with the Graphic Sports.The next day, November 2, 1971, Robert Mensah died.Pictured below (standing, right), tall and stylish as ever, he was so loved that the old Siwitu Park in Cape Coast was renamed after him.44 years onIn 2015, Robert Mensah’s heroics are remembered in Kumasi now as his beloved Kotoko lost to Berekum Chelsea on Sunday.”We are absolutely thrilled with this result and there’s no doubt we were really prepared,” said Chelsea’s Kofi Owusu, who got the first two goals.In winning like this, the Blues also became the first non-Kumasi team to beat Kotoko 3-0 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in a league game since organised league football started in Ghana.In reaction to this unprecedented state of affairs, the Kotoko hierarchy has apologised to the fans and also promised to bring the team back to winning ways.Reactions”Kumasi Asante Kotoko has lost many matches in the its rich history but being annihilated at our own Baba Yara Sports Stadium is not worth describing and I therefore render an unqualified apology to the fans of the club,” said a contrite Opoku Nti in a press release on Monday.”The historians of our game will struggle to find the last time we recorded such score line at the Baba Yara Stadium. It is an unwanted record which taints and hurts our pride pride as a club. There is no excuse for the appalling results and I share the pain of our fans.”On behalf of the board of directors, management, technical team and playing, I render an unqualified apology to all our fans near and far. We have learnt painful lessons from the match and we promise to halt the rot,” the release continued.The apology has come but the anger was raw on Sunday.For the third time this season, Kotoko fans nearly blocked the team from leaving the stadium, following similar occurences after they lost to Algeria’s Eulma and 3-1 to Liberty Professionals in Dansoman on June 21.Duncan’s undertonesEver the politician, Duncan’s words in the post-match presser were carefully chosen. But they were interesting, nonetheless, in light of the club’s recent financial problems.”I am not the one who said anything about losing bonus or some players not showing commitment so if management, who are insiders feel there is more to our failure this season, then that’s fine,” he (below, right) is quoted by Ghanasoccernet as saying.”I don’t want to state anything in specific terms but you are mature and can understand what I am driving at. I would only focus on my area of specialization (coaching) but, if the management decides that I should go then fine I would accept that.”The background is that the Reds have failed to pay salaries for up to three months, according to Joy Sports sources.No official word has come to explain the anomaly, but performances from players have been inconsistent, as evidenced by this big defeat which came a week after they beat Aduana to qualify for the FA Cup final.Fan angerLive coverage of the game from the Baba Yara Stadium was provided by Kofi Asare of Luv FM, who reports angst among the support after fulltime. “Some of them besieged the mixed zone which is usually used by players and officials to leave the stadium after games. Security was quick to respond,” Asare says.”Getting to the end of [coach David] Duncan’s postgame presser, a number of policemen came in to escort him together with [left-back] Eric Donkor. The coach however decided to have a word with the fans instead. He told them to be patient with the project just as he had told the press. “The fans calmed down and made their way home, crestfallen though.”While Duncan walked to his car, another angry fan hurled invectives at the 54-year old. Duncan lost his cool and nearly engaged the fan in a brawl but was separated by stadium security.Teams on SundayKotoko XI:  Ofori Antwi, Attah Kusi, Ahmed Adams, Kwesi Acheampong, Christopher Bonney- Frank Sarfo Gyamfi, Michael Akuffu, Jordan Opoku, Eric Donkor- Dauda Mohammed, Obed Owusu.last_img

first_imgChelsea XI: Michael Sai- Kelvin KP Boateng, Paul Aidoo, Osei Agyemang, Rashed Abdul- Bennett Ofori, Samuel Kyere, Prince Gyamfi, Stephen Baffour Asare- Kofi Owusu, Asiwome Fumador.–CLICK TO READ: Matchday 23 league preview –Gary Al-Smith is assisting Joy Sports editor. Follow on Twitter: @garyalsmith. Get more from the team with the #JoySports hashtag on Facebook/Twitter How long has it been since Kotoko lost by three clear goals in Kumasi?It’s neither 40 nor 45 years.It’s actually 44.Berekum Chelsea’s 3-0 victory against the Porcupine Warroris on Sunday made them the first team to beat Kotoko by that margin at home since 1971.Various media reports have had it that it was Cornerstones who last beat Kotoko at home. This is incorrect because it was a 1970 league match that was indeed played in Kumasi, but not at the then Kumasi Sports Stadium.The game was played at the home of Corners. The team that was actually responsible for that piece of history was Akotex, who had been newly promoted from the lower tier. The Kotoko side that was beaten was studded, which made the defeat even more peculiar.There were greats like Malik Jabir, Ben Acheampong, Abukari Gariba, Bobie Ansah and Essel Mensah. Others were Akuamoah Boateng, Ohene Brenya and Yaw Sam.  But that was not the only thing that made that 1971 defeat unforgettable.Robert Mensah’s disgrace Ghana’s football folklore will never be complete without a mention of the great Robert Mensah (above, extreme right), perhaps the best goalie the country has ever produced.Having joined the Porcupines in 1969 following critically acclaimed performances for Dwarfs, Robert had competition from the equally good Essel Mensah for the goalkeeping slot. But due to Robert’s reputation, he was given the gloves for the derby game with Cornerstones.It ended in disgrace following the three goals he conceded. 3-0 it ended.Essel was given the position again, a job he handled with aplomb until he was called for national duty. Essel, a miltary man, had seen his excellence for Kotoko get him a callup to be part of the Ghana team at the Africa Military Games in Burkina Faso.This was a great chance for Robert to reclaim the position, and he grabbed it. Kotoko had been on a good run in the African Clubs Championships and the quarterfinals was nigh. Due to Essel’s absence and Robert’s recent good form, he was the inevitable choice to keep the posts against Stationary Stores of Nigeria.This was in 1970. And Robert excelled.By this time, the goalkeeping position was his, and he dispelled any doubts about it with a mesmerizing two-legged show against Young Africans of Tanzania in the semis. Kotoko won and qualified for the final, where they beat Englebert. Ghana had produced an African champion at club level. Fast forwardAfter winning the African title, Kotoko had to contend with the ongoing league as well.Fans were desperate for revenge against Akotex and the return leg was slated for Somanya.But on that trip, there was no Robert Mensah. The great man, at this time 32 years, was the reigning best ‘keeper in Africa. However, he was unhappy with the way his club had treated him.  Following his heroics in Africa which had led to the win of the 1970 African Clubs Championships, Kotoko had promised Robert a car but it was delaying. Ibrahim Mahama, a former board member of Kotoko, told the Graphic Sports in 2013 that Robert had been very peeved with the turn of events. Mahama recalls that a few days before he passed on, Robert kept telling him to let the Kotoko management honour their promise.“Kotoko must give me what is due me now. They shouldn’t wait till I die before they come organising a flamboyant funeral,” Robert had said, according to Mahama who was then in charge of Kotoko welfare.In pursuit of his claim from the management of Kotoko, Robert abandoned camp as he refused to keep the Kotoko post, and in the words of Mahama: “I pursued Robert to Tema and finally persuaded him to keep the post in a match against their bogey club, Akosombo Akotex, at Somanya.”Mahama said he met Robert at a drinking spot at Community Four in Tema, and just when they were about to board a taxi from the spot, Robert saw two young men, namely Nana Ahwere and Melfah engaged in a fight. Robert went between them in his bid to separate the two men. But in the process, Melfah – who broke one of the bottles in order to gouge his opponent – rather ended up stabbing Robert in the stomach. Robert fell on the broken bottle, the other end of it still stuck in his stomach. “We rushed Robert to the Tema General Hospital, and he was immediately sent to the operating theatre. In what appeared a successful operation, Robert was brought back the next day looking well, but unfortunately he told me that he would not make it. So he directed me to take his famous goalkeeping accoutrements, including his cap, boots and jersey, and give them to his son Papa, who is now a Prison officer at Ghana Prisons,” Mahama recounted in an interview with the Graphic Sports.The next day, November 2, 1971, Robert Mensah died.Pictured below (standing, right), tall and stylish as ever, he was so loved that the old Siwitu Park in Cape Coast was renamed after him.44 years onIn 2015, Robert Mensah’s heroics are remembered in Kumasi now as his beloved Kotoko lost to Berekum Chelsea on Sunday.”We are absolutely thrilled with this result and there’s no doubt we were really prepared,” said Chelsea’s Kofi Owusu, who got the first two goals.In winning like this, the Blues also became the first non-Kumasi team to beat Kotoko 3-0 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in a league game since organised league football started in Ghana.In reaction to this unprecedented state of affairs, the Kotoko hierarchy has apologised to the fans and also promised to bring the team back to winning ways.Reactions”Kumasi Asante Kotoko has lost many matches in the its rich history but being annihilated at our own Baba Yara Sports Stadium is not worth describing and I therefore render an unqualified apology to the fans of the club,” said a contrite Opoku Nti in a press release on Monday.”The historians of our game will struggle to find the last time we recorded such score line at the Baba Yara Stadium. It is an unwanted record which taints and hurts our pride pride as a club. There is no excuse for the appalling results and I share the pain of our fans.”On behalf of the board of directors, management, technical team and playing, I render an unqualified apology to all our fans near and far. We have learnt painful lessons from the match and we promise to halt the rot,” the release continued.The apology has come but the anger was raw on Sunday.For the third time this season, Kotoko fans nearly blocked the team from leaving the stadium, following similar occurences after they lost to Algeria’s Eulma and 3-1 to Liberty Professionals in Dansoman on June 21.Duncan’s undertonesEver the politician, Duncan’s words in the post-match presser were carefully chosen. But they were interesting, nonetheless, in light of the club’s recent financial problems.”I am not the one who said anything about losing bonus or some players not showing commitment so if management, who are insiders feel there is more to our failure this season, then that’s fine,” he (below, right) is quoted by Ghanasoccernet as saying.”I don’t want to state anything in specific terms but you are mature and can understand what I am driving at. I would only focus on my area of specialization (coaching) but, if the management decides that I should go then fine I would accept that.”The background is that the Reds have failed to pay salaries for up to three months, according to Joy Sports sources.No official word has come to explain the anomaly, but performances from players have been inconsistent, as evidenced by this big defeat which came a week after they beat Aduana to qualify for the FA Cup final.Fan angerLive coverage of the game from the Baba Yara Stadium was provided by Kofi Asare of Luv FM, who reports angst among the support after fulltime. “Some of them besieged the mixed zone which is usually used by players and officials to leave the stadium after games. Security was quick to respond,” Asare says.”Getting to the end of [coach David] Duncan’s postgame presser, a number of policemen came in to escort him together with [left-back] Eric Donkor. The coach however decided to have a word with the fans instead. He told them to be patient with the project just as he had told the press. “The fans calmed down and made their way home, crestfallen though.”While Duncan walked to his car, another angry fan hurled invectives at the 54-year old. Duncan lost his cool and nearly engaged the fan in a brawl but was separated by stadium security.Teams on SundayKotoko XI:  Ofori Antwi, Attah Kusi, Ahmed Adams, Kwesi Acheampong, Christopher Bonney- Frank Sarfo Gyamfi, Michael Akuffu, Jordan Opoku, Eric Donkor- Dauda Mohammed, Obed Owusu.last_img

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