Kotoko Attackers Power Rankings: Arthur Leads The Line, Andoh Secures His Spot & Coach’s Hard Choice
The Reds' pre-season is done and the real preparations for this season continental campaign have begun.
Asante Kotoko’s pre-season is all done at the Accra Academy’s Baby Jet Astro-turf and now the die is cast as the team prepares to leave the shores of Ghana this afternoon to Kano, Nigeria for their 2019/20 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League campaign.
With a win and a draw from their two international matches at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium against Ivorian sides Rahimo FC and Omnisports, it has been an encouraging two games for Coach Kjetil Zachariassen and his new regime.
The Porcupines supporters have seen a lot of enterprising play, a focus on attacking displays, with a downside being that the defence has not looked the most secure in the last few matches.
However, with an emphasis on an attacking football, the front men are going to have to be at the top of their game for Zachariassen over the course of the Champions League season.
Finding the right forward line will be a key task for the Norwegian tactician as he approaches the competitive start of his first season as Kotoko head coach.
Strikers have been a problem position for some time at the club.
Dany Zabo Teguy have previously failed to fill the boots of want-away Songne Yacouba and now it will be over to George Abege, Naby Keita and Richard Arthur to give it their go.
Out wide, Abdul Fatawu is on trials with Swedish side Helsingborg IF. More than a mere midfielder, he was the heartbeat of the team’s creativity and attack and the most likely match-winner when Asante Kotoko needed an individual to step up in the Normalization Committee’s Special Tier-One Cup which the Reds eventually clinched the ultimate.
There will be opportunities for his former costars and a new generation of talent if players can prove themselves worthy of bringing their own quality to the team.
With a mixture of formations ranging from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 and a 4-4-2 diamond, the Porcupines have given their forwards chances to impress in a variety of different line ups.
Ahead of the start of the CAF Champions League season, here are how Zachariassen’s options stack up. The power rankings as they stand for the players pitching to play a part in Kotoko’s forward line are below, in ascending order.
Asante Kotoko power rankings: Forwards
Joined up with the squad not long ago and has looked a really good prospect. A lot of energy and has tried to make an impression.
Of course, he is still going to need time to adapt to the Kotoko team, but the signs are looking good to really show what he can do.
Initially, he will play on the left of the three, but when Maxwell Baakoh comes back, that role could be under some threat.
Power ranking: 6th – Has shown flashes of his quality and enough to excite Kotoko fans for the upcoming season.
The Ugandan made a real impression in the early chances that was given, with good link-up play and running the lines well during his last two games for the Reds but he is feeling the heat from the Kotoko fans already to up his game.
However, his experience and achievements cannot be ignored and when he comes back into the fold he will give some added quality.
Power ranking: 5th – Needs to impress straight away to get into the starting XI.
Got his chance in the Porcupines draw against Ivorian side Omnisports where Zachariassen was really trying to give full fitness to his starting XI and gave a good account of himself. It looks like he will be the main to play upfront.
Arthur is a good goalscorer, while he all-round game still needs a bit of work.
Power ranking: 4th – Still a raw talent in a lot of ways but he has to prove now he is the striker to lead the Reds this season.
Could well be the main man in this Kotoko side. He is yet to feature for the team since he rejoined. His versatility, high energy and technical ability will be key this season for his side.
Power ranking: 3rd – Could be an important creative player for Zachariassen.
Has had the most about of minutes when it comes to the front men and has grown through the summer with some decent performances.
His goal against Ivorian side Rahimo FC might be one of the best memories in his career and playing on the right he has been crucial for the Porcupines.
With Abdul Fatawu and Kwame Bonsu out of the squad for the upcoming season, Andoh will need to make his first opportunities really count.
Power ranking: 2nd – Will have time to shine and needs to be the big player for the Reds.
He is developing into one of the best wingers on the local scene and already has been impressive over the course of the pre-season so far.
With his powerful driving from wings and ability on the ball, he really seems to have found his place in the side and could be a key player during the campaign for Zachariassen.
Power ranking: 1st – Still a raw talent in a lot of ways but he has to prove now he is the man to lead the Reds to the promised land in the absence of Yacouba and Fatawu.
Asante Kotoko’s strongest forward line for the new season
Kjetil Zachariassen has already shown a great deal of flexibility when it comes to how he wants to use his forward players and it is going to be interesting to see how he sets his team up once the Champions League begins this weekend at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Nigeria.
The preferred formation appears to be 4-2-3-1 meaning that only one striker will be leading the line against Kano Pillars on Saturday.
On the basis of Zachariassen’s selection over the course of the past two games, Richard Arthur appears to be leading the race for that spot.
In that formation, there will also be the battle for who plays just behind the striker. Emmanuel Gyamfi looked good on the left, while Kelvin Andoh has played the last two games on the right.
It is key the Porcupines get their forward line set upright. There have been some impressive displays so far but as all fans know, without the players to make the difference and put the ball in the back of the net, promising play can only go so far.
Kotoko’s strongest forward line to face Kano Pillars
Formation: 4-2-3-1 – Gyamfi, Andoh, Arthur.