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Tactical Board: The Managerial Nous Of CK Akunnor Liberating The Beast In Richard Senanu

Every generational crop of players usually have an identifiable player that dictates the tempo of the game during their regime or reign. Pep Guardiola’s revolutionary system was built around a midfield trio of Iniesta, Xavi and then fast emerging Sergio Busquetes. Zidane’s all conquering Real Madrid team a noted trio of Kroos, Modric and Casmeiro at the heart of the team despite the rampant Ronaldo raining goals on weekly basis. Can one say the current Asante Kotoko watertight team is led by Richard Senanu? Well, some will mention Felix Annan, Ismail Ganiu or even the elusive Maxwell Baakoh Messi.

Asante Kotoko SC stunned the Ghanaian football caucus by terminating their deal with Paa Kwesi Faabin after the then club trainer had tendered a resignation letter amidst unconfirmed rumors of breach of contract. The telemundo unravel at a rather fast pace and the spiral managerial job found its route under the leadership of Charles Kwablah Akunnor. It was a risk worthy of taken and ended up changing the perception of football and footballers in Ashanti region and Ghana at large. Guess what? Akunnor ended an 11-year hoodoo at the continental level for Asante Kotoko and could perhaps go all the way.

Meeting a chunk of experience players in an already established side, Charles Kwablah Akunnor added variety, pace and flair to his array of stars. Ismail Abdul Ganiu, Maxwell Baakoh Messi and Naby Laye Keita joined the Red Army in a lengthy list of new arrivals. Their savior, though, was already in the camp of the Porcupine Warriors. He was not Felix Annan, not Amos Frimpong, not  Emmanue Gyamfi but his name is Richard Senanu.

Playing mobile 4-3-3 system in his continental sojourn so far, CK Akunnor opted has cast a template starting XI with little variations on weekly basis. Felix Annan has found a place on the bench for Muntari Tagoe in the race for the number one slot. It really never was going to be any heated debate. The current custodian for the Porcupine Warriors will bench most goalkeepers in the African continent.

At left back, Augustine Sefah kept his slot in the team despite the heated contest from Abass Mohammed whiles Amos Frimpong kept his place on the right back. The pair of Ismail Abdul Ganiu and Emmanuel Agyemang Badu has proven to be watertight and versatile- forget the recent setback and judge them on their field.

In a midfield trio dominated by Senanu, CK Akunnor combined mobility with energy in a trio destined to find a place in the annals of the club. Kwame Bonsu, having recently ended his jail term in Sweden, roared into the midfield alongside Richard Senanu as the two untouchables. The trio of players is completed by Emmanuel Gyamfi on two ends- attacking asset and a defensive gem as well.

Shafiu Abdul Fatawu, Maxwell Baakoh Messi and the goal shy Sougne Yacouba complete the first eleven used by CK Akunnor in his opening six games at the continental level. Yacouba plays across the front line with Shafiu and Maxwell Baakoh swapping roles like a blinking traffic.

On the tactical versatility of CK Akunnor, he has carved a niche at the centre of the pitch for Senanu, the heartbeat of this Kotok side. His leverage without the ball headlined his complete nature as a central midfielder. The fast emerging midfielder has formed a screen in front of the back line whiles providing a springboard for the attackers to initiate their game. With an experienced player in Bonsu by his side, Richard Senanu has been used in a role barely understood by many footballers on the pitch.

As a very good passer of the ball, CK Akunnor feasted on that by unleashing flying full backs and wingers in Gyamfi and Maxwell. The diagonal passes and defense splitting long passes showed how the midfielder has been schooled to play on the field. His job is not for cameramen to be capturing him-reason why he is not usually seen on the game. Who needs him when his effect is been felt by both sets of players?

The dazzling Yaocuba has monopolized the media traffic thanks to his five assist and some hard luck in the final third. The real gem in this Kotoko set up on the tactical board certainly must include Senanu if he is not the kingpin of the team in particular. His ability to cushion the backline alone allows Kotoko to multiple in attack with Gyamfi and Bonsu joining Maxwell, Shafui and Yacouba in a surprised 4-1-3-2. The trio of Bonsu, Maxwell and Gyamfi is led by Shafiu and Yaocuba with Senanu sitting right in front of Ganiu, Badu, Sefah and Amos.

With an injury ruling him out of the trip to Ndola for the Nkana clash, the onus lies on Ck Akunnor to unleash another playing system in the absence of his orchestra. If Sergio Busquetes, Luca Modric, Claude Makele and even Ghana’s Micheal Essien didn’t get their deserved attention from the football fraternity, can you imagine the faith of an ordinary Baba Yara based dynamo? Get well soon Richard ‘Water Carrier’  Senanu.

Follow Saani Abacha on twitter @Saani_abacha

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Saani Abacha

Saani Abacha is a sports writer with a keen interest in African Football and a product of team play. I love sports for a reason and derives my pleasure and happiness watching any kind of sporting discipline. Get in touch via Email| Generalabacha10@gmail.com Twitter| @Saani_abacha On Whatsup| +233207413977.

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