His appointment as Asante Kotoko head coach in October 2018 was met with divided opinion. One part thought he deserved to coach the Ghanaian giants having done similar at Elven Wise, Hearts of Oak, Dreams FC, and Ashantigold whilst others questioned Charles Kwablan Akonnor’s proven track record.
But after his first four games in Africa, Akonnor boasts of the best record of any Kotoko manager in any African competition for the last 27 years. Better than Ernst Middendorp, Ralf Zumdick, Ian Porterfield, Hans Dieter Schmidt, Bashiru Hayford, Samuel Kwesi Fabian, Masud Didi Dramani, David Duncan, Steven Polack. That is a long list.
NOTE- In the 1992 African Cup of Champions Clubs, the club recorded a 1-1 away draw and 2-0 home win against SCOM Mikishi respectively. This was followed by a 2-1 back to back wins over Costa de Sol of Mozambique. This was the last time the Kotoko recorded three wins and a draw in their opening four games in any African competition.
A goalless draw against Kariobangi Sharks was followed by a 2-1 home win at the Kumasi Babayara stadium on December 22 last year. Akonnor’s team went on to produce a remarkable performance in Yaounde beating Coton Sport by 3-2 and in the return leg, the Porcupine Warriors claimed their second successive win and their third overall of the competition.
The record of Draw-Win-Win-Win in his first four Africa games puts the former Ghana skipper on top of all the names mentioned above. His team scored 7 goals and allowed 4.
For instance coach, Polack was in charge of Kotoko for two African games against CARA Brazzaville and the British trainer led Kotoko to a frustrating 1-0 home win but got eliminated in the second leg on penalty shootouts after losing 1-0 in normal time.
Not even the first four African matches of Middendorp, who managed the likes of Stephen Oduro, Arhin Duah, Godwin Ablordey, Michael Osei and co to reach the final of the 2002 Cup Winners' Cup, betters that of Akonnor. The German – now in charge of South African side Kaizer Chiefs – recorded a win and three draws in his opening four games in the competition before he was succeeded by Ian Porterfield.
In the 2008 Confederation Cup, it was a draw (2-2 at Wikki Tourists of Nigeria) – win (4-1 home win against Wikki Tourists) – loss (1-2 defeat at Dolphins of Nigeria) – win (4-1 win over Dolphins) for Bashiru Hayford in his first four African matches as Kotoko head coach. The team went on to eliminate Al-Ittihad of Tripoli to reach the group stages – a feat repeated by Akonnor’s side after ten years.
Didi Dramani who won the double for the club could not do better in the 2013 Champions league. He started with a 7-0 mauling of Sony Ela Nguema and repeated the result this time by 1-0 in the away leg. A 0-0 away draw at JSM Bejaia was followed by a 1-1 stalemate in Kumasi and thereby eliminating Didi’s team.
Whilst Akonnor has not won any trophies for the club, it is important to point out his impressive start in Africa in charge of Asante Kotoko making his statistically the best Kotoko coach in African competitions for the last 27 years so far as their opening four games are concerned.