FEATURE: Ogum under the microscope

Published on: 14 April 2022

With his post Super Clash presser as a walkway, I tried to pry into Asante Kotoko’s coach, Dr. Prosper Narteh Ogum’s mind.

This is what I found. Ogum isn’t the coach Kotoko haven’t had for years as some fans suggest. Rather, he’s a brilliant technical handler bent on reframing mindsets at the club. If he’s allowed, we'll come good.

A sharp academic who spares no effort to be candid. That’s what Ogum is. I like his candour. Bashir Hasford, Didi Dramaini, David Duncan and Steven Pollack showed that trait too. Regardless of what the issues are, Ogum sheds light; illuminate minds to give sight to perspectives fans and the media may not be paying attention to.

Here’s Ogum why Kotoko strikers are wasteful. “I’ll relate it to the theory we call audience effect. Once people come out of their comfort zone and people come to evaluate them in terms of their performance, they become tense. Once they become tense, studies have shown that, tension breaks the reflex action of skill performance” says the former Cape Coast University lecturer.

“So, in such situations, they make the errors but at training when they’re relaxed, [they score]”. Ogum accepts responsibility too. “They’ve been scoring at training but probably because of the nature of the audience, the nature of the game and then the tempo; that makes them a bit tense [to] commit mistakes. As a coach, it’s my [duty to work on that]”.

Ogum works with verifiable sets of ideas. He commits to implementation. Maybe I shoudn’t be saying this given his background but it’s important some things go on record. Kotoko pressure doesn’t scare him, he says. “I’m working. I’ve a structure. Once, I’m following that structure, I believe in the process and I know if the players are obedient, the process will work.

“You only work under pressure if [you’ve no] structure. We have a structure we’re working with”. Fortunately, notable blocs within the club support Ogum's structure. That’s refreshing. The club must insist that, the identity and shape he wants to give Kotoko thrives beyond a season or two.

His leadership skills. Injuries are a setback but he’s getting players to perform. He has useful player-relation methods that breeds confidence and mutual respect. His regular engagement with players beyond what the cameras show us is well-known by close observers. He has time for his players and their lives. “I’ve given updates on the players. Most of them are injured, they’re not fit. We’ve managed them to be able to play.

“With respect to [they] doing well, I’m happy they’re doing well. I’m a development coach; I’m a youth coach so no wonder, with all due respect, when I was coming, some of you thought a coach from academia doesn’t fit into Kotoko”. That’s primitive thinking.

Without sound, business practices being employed by the Nana Yaw Amponsah-led team, courting corporate support to rev Kotoko finances for example, the club won’t survive beyond Ghana. That’s where fans must take their minds to and support developments at the club. Ogum wants his players to accept the new order.

“We brought in players from Division Two, players from nowhere. If you actually follow football, it takes time for players to disabuse their belief and knowledge about how football is played to accept a new one” he argues. Every player must earn his place, he maintains as he’s isn’t moved by names. Players must grasp his game model. He commends good effort.

“I want to give credit to the players. They’ve been very obedient. They’ve been very humble. They’ve been purposeful. The level of respect they give to me, [amazes me]” he ends. At this point, presently, if Kotoko fans aren’t amazed to also have such an erudite coach to steer us into a productive future, then we have a big problem.

Source: Jerome Otchere