Today In History Kotoko win first league title in ten years

On 23rd November, 2003, Kumasi Asante Kotoko defeated King Faisal by a goal to nil to win their first league title in ten years and also broke Hearts ,of Oak’s invincible feat of winning the premier league on six consecutive seasons, a record which stands to date.

The Porcupine Warriors last won the league in 1993, before Ashanti Gold then Goldfields won the newly introduced premier league on three occasions and the Phobians followed with six titles in that sequence.

Kotoko won the match 1-0 through Michael Osei’s seventh minute goal when he connected home a perfect free kick from Charles Taylor.

Coach Abdul Razak shed tears of joy as the supporters carried him shoulder high for good work done.

With two more matches to go Kotoko has taken a comfortable lead on the league table and optimistic that the league trophy was already in their possession.

Kotoko had been in the wilderness since the introduction of the premier league having played second fiddle to Obuasi Goldfields who won it for three consecutive times before archrivals Accra Hearts of Oak took over and won it for six consecutive times.

In a tension packed match, it was Faisal who nearly had the opener in the second minute after referee Alex Quartey of Accra had whistled for hostilities to begin but goalkeeper Louis Quainoo came out to save the situation.

Kotoko immediately took over but Frank Osei fumbled after Charles Taylor has given him a pass in the fourth minute. A minute later, Frank Osei scored but the referee disallowed the goal.

From proceedings it was obvious that Kotoko could not be denied a goal as it came in the seventh minute. Kotoko had a free kick just outside the penalty box and Charles Taylor took a perfect one to Michael Osei who connected home the opener.

Kotoko continued to probe for more goals but Faisal defence warded off their chances.

Faisal nearly equalised in the 27th minute but Frank Osei headed out Godwin Ablordey’s goal bound shot.

In the 31st minute, Kwadwo Poku rounded up the defence of Kotoko but his shot was parried to a corner by goalkeeper Quainoo and the resultant corner kick was wasted.

Faisal resumed the second half fighting like wounded tigers for the equaliser but the defence of Kotoko stood gallantly as Joe Hendricks was shown the yellow card for rough play on Kwadwo Poku in the 48th minute.

Coach Razak made two quick changes sending in Edmund Owusu-Ansah for Yusif Chipsah and Stephen Oduro for Frank Osei in the 51st and 56th minutes respectively.

The substitution completely changed the pattern of play of Kotoko with Stephen Oduro and Owusu-Ansah combining beautifully with Charles Taylor they put Faisal under severe pressure as Taylor tore the defence into ribbons on many occasions but goalkeeper Suraju made spectacular saves.

As the going became tough, Faisal brought in Ishaq Debrah for Kwabena Boateng in the 68th minute and also substituted Ablordey for Joe Agyemang junior in the 70th minute.

In spite of these changes, it was Kotoko who were still on top as they took complete control of the game mesmerising the defence of Faisal with inter-positional passes but they could not increase the tally.

Kotoko brought in Shilla Alhassan for Nana Arhin Duah while Faisal also sent in Kwabena Poku for Kwadwo Poku in the 80th minute but neither side could find the net until final whistle.

Kotoko following their success in the 2003 season, have won 5 additional premier league titles, making their total premier league titles six, but a total of 23 league titles, the highest in Ghana league history.