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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Otumfuo: I’m not a Phobian



Who says when the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II sits in the Manhyia Palace he does not hear what goes on in the football circles? Indeed, Otumfuo himself has often emphasised that while at the Manhyia Palace his ears are all over every corner of his kingdom - and even beyond.

It was therefore not surprising when at a meeting with the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the club last Friday at which he extended its mandate until further notice; he mentioned the allegation making rounds in Kumasi that he was a Hearts of Oak fan. And for once, Otumfuo broke his silence on the issue saying he had never been a follower of the premier club.

"At no point in time have I been linked to Hearts of Oak. In fact, until I became Asantehene, I had very little knowledge about football” The members of the IMC and some supporters who had gathered at the palace received Otumfuo's statement with applause. Since he ascended the Golden Stool 10 years ago, stories have been making the rounds in Kumasi that Otumfuo is a keen Hearts of Oak fan.

Some football enthusiasts even refer to a statement the Asantehene made when Hearts of Oak presented the African Champions League trophy they won to him at the Manhyia Palace in 200I.

On that occasion, Otumfuo was quoted as saying that both Kotoko and Hearts belonged to him, something some people took to mean he had some attachments to the Phobians. The Asantehene said as the owner of Asante Kotoko, he would always ensure that the club got the right footing to compete strongly both locally and internationally.

"I want to see an Asante Kokoto that strikes fear in opponents and I charge the management to put in measures to bring this to reality." For about 30 minutes, the Asantehene touched on a number of issues that bordered on the upliftment of the club.

With undoubtedly the biggest support base in the country, many are questioning why successive managements of the club could not take advantage to turn the fortunes of the club in terms of investments other than players. Perhaps it was for this reason that Otumfuo charged the IMC to ensure sound financial administration in the club.

As a graduate in accounting, Otumfuo believes in sound financial administration, and he told the IMC that at the appropriate time, he would call them to render accounts to him. He said the IMC would be reporting to the Mamponghene, Daasebre Osei Bonsu, who would represent him (Otumfuo) in many of the matters affecting the club.

“I don't think it is every issue that should come before me," he stressed. He lauded the club’s supporters for supporting it to the hilt even in times of difficulties.

Otumfuo specifically mentioned Ali Maradona, a key member of the supporters’ base and said his exemplary commitment to the development of Kotoko should be recognised by all. He also spoke about the way some people use his name to spread all forms of wild stories about the club. "All the stories that Otumfuo says this and that are not true. You should ignore them and focus on your work," he told the IMC.

Source: Graphic Sports

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