Today in History: Kotoko crowned champions

December 7, 2019

On this day, 7 December 2003 (Exactly 16 years ago today), Kumasi Asante Kotoko were crowned the Kinapharma Premier league champions after beating Real Tamale United (RTU) 2-0 in their last match of the season in Kumasi.

It was their first league title in 10 years.

The atmosphere at the stadium was electrifying as the supporters who had thronged the stadium to its bursting point waited anxiously for the final whistle and the moment they had been waiting for.

Therefore, when Referee E.O.M. Osanquaye of Accra, whistled for the end of proceedings, the stadium erupted into Reverend Seth Frimpong’s hit song “Eye Ya Afe”, while waiving white handkerchiefs.

RTU gave an early indication of giving Kotoko a run for their money when in the 13th minute, J. Adjei who was a constant thorn in the flesh of the Kotoko defence, centred beautifully but Awudu headed wide.

Kotoko counter attacked with speedster Michael Osei leading the pack and in the 15th minute took on the RTU defence in a dribbling session but the defence managed to contain him.

A minute later, Charles Taylor sent the already charged Kotoko supporters cheering wildly when he connected home Shilla Alhassan’s pass to put his team in the lead.

Kotoko from then on, dominated play and in the 22nd minute earned a free kick outside the goal area of RTU but Charles Taylor wasted the resultant kick.

Then in the 27th minute, Michael Osei shot wide from close range and two minutes later again headed wide from Charles Taylor’s pass.

RTU pulled themselves up and earned a free kick in the 43rd minute outside the Kotoko goal area but wasted it.

On resumption, RTU redoubled their efforts and earned a free kick in the 47th minute but wasted it.

Kotoko in the 54th minute pulled out Shilla Alhassan for Frank Osei while RTU also brought in P. Abass for T. Alolo in the 56th minute and three minute later, had a good chance but J. Adjei shot wide.

The game from then on became a ding-dong affair until Kotoko pulled out Michael Osei for Kwadwo Poku who brought more bite into the Kotoko attack.

He justified his inclusion with a classic goal in the 77th minute from a Frank Osei cross from the right. Frank Osei rounded up a defender of RTU, turned sharply and centred beautifully for Kwadwo Poku to fire home the second goal.

From then on, Kotoko resorted to short passes and keeping the ball to themselves to the delight of their supporters until the shrill whistle of referee Osanquaye brought proceedings to an end.

The huge crowd spontaneously rose to their feet and waving their white handkerchiefs responded to the song “Eye Ya Afe” while dancing in the stands, waiting to catch a glimpse of the trophy to be handed over to their club.

On this day 7 December 2013 (Exactly 6 years ago today) WBA and WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux retained his titles with a 12-round, unanimous decision over former two-time bantamweight champ Joseph Agbeko at Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom.

Judges Eugene Grant (120-108), Ron McNair (120-108) and Robin Taylor (120-108) all had Rigondeaux winning every round.

”I came to do what I need to do,” Rigondeaux said through an interpreter. ”Every time out there, I try to improve. I’m improving every day. I had no problems in any round.”

Rigondeaux, a native of Cuba now living in Miami, delivered a solid-yet-conservative performance.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is considered one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters, but draws criticism for his style.

He generated cheers from the crowd in the sixth round by landing five straight powerful left crosses to Agbeko’s midsection, but otherwise was content to stay on the outside and pepper him with right jabs and left hooks before dancing out of danger.

Agbeko also deserved criticism for the slow pace. Trainer Roger Mayweather urged him to throw punches and take a few chances, but he was content to stay in a defensive shell for most of the bout.

Agbeko averaged only 29 punches per round.

”I felt strong throughout the fight, it was just tough to get to him,” Agbeko said. ”I hurt my right hand early and couldn’t throw it much. But it was hard to catch him. He’s very fast and he’s got great footwork.”

Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Cuba, was making his fourth defense of the WBA title he gained by knocking out former champion Rico Ramos in the sixth round on Jan. 20, 2012.

He followed with a fifth-round TKO over Philadelphia native Teon Kennedy and a 12-round decision over Roberto Marooquin before adding the WBO belt with his stunning, 12-round decision over Nonito Donaire April 13,2013

Agbeko, a native of Ghana, was a two-time IBF bantamweight champ who made the jump from 118 pounds to 122 for the first time for this fight.

On this day 7 December 1996 (Exactly 23 years ago today) Andy Townsend of Aston Villa scored the 5000th goal of the Premier League playing against Southampton

On this day 7 December 2017 (Exactly 2 years ago today) Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo won then record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or award for the year’s best player.

The former Real Madrid forward’s second successive win drew him level alongside Barcelona rival Lionel Messi on five Ballon d’Ors, after beating the Argentinian and Brazilian Neymar.

The 32-year-old was the top-scorer in the previous season’s Champions League as Real successfully defended the trophy with victory over Juventus, and also led the Spanish giants to their first La Liga title in five years.

“Of course I feel happy. This is something I look forward to every year,” Ronaldo said at the ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“The trophies won last year helped to win this award. Thanks to the Real Madrid team-mates. And I want to thank the rest of the people who helped me reach this level.”

Ronaldo, who also won the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award in October, added the 2017 Ballon d’Or to his previous wins in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

The prestigious France Football magazine award is decided upon by a journalists’ ballot, with each naming a top five from a list of 30.

 

STORIES: GEORGE MAHAMAH


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