On this day, 1 January 1960 (Exactly 59 years ago)
Kumasi Asante Kotoko beat Kumasi Cornerstones 3-0 to win their first league title. This was the season Kotoko earned the tag ‘Fabulous ‘ by the media .
Denied by Hasaacas from defending the National Cup, Asante Kotoko began the League with greater determination, beating Hearts of Oak 4-2 on match day one in Accra on 7 June 1959.
Their dashing inside-right Kwame Adarkwa, whose absence was so greatly felt in their fateful cup – tie with Hasaacas, was now free to return to his side.
Asante Kotoko haven almost gone through the first round of the League undefeated went to Gyandu Park on 19 July 1959, the grave yard of their hopes, and met their “masters “, Sekondi Hasaacas and Kotoko did not overcome the Gyandu Park hoodoo. Hasaacas gave Kotoko a game and a result to remember for ever.
In his preview before the match, “Schemer “, a columnist in the Daily Graphic, said ” If Kotoko sail smoothly over this bar tomorrow the championship will be within their grip. Tradition cannot be an infallible pointer to the winner of this match. Both clubs have made brilliant changes to their teams for the League, but Kotoko has shown greater brilliance and better goal scoring “form.”
Sekondi Hasaacas, who are proud of the appellation ” giants of the West ” , confirmed their superiority over Kotoko before a capacity crowd by defeating them by five goals to three. At half time Kotoko were leading by 3-1.
When play resumed, free fighting broke out all over the field and play was held up for about ten minutes. Kwao Baffoe, Kotoko goalie, had struck a player in the course of play.
A penalty which was awarded against Kwao Baffoe for “misbehavior ” and taken by Aggrey Fynn in the 80th minute, enabled Hasaacas to reduce score to 3-2. Kwao Baffoe had lost his temper and after this goal it was all Hasaacas. They outplayed Kotoko in all departments of the game. In the 82nd minute a weak shot from Alli beat Baffoe in goal to level the score. A free kick taken by Arthur in the 88th minute put Hasaacas ahead 4-3. and Aggrey Fynn made it five for Hasaacas from a corner -kick taken by Alli in the 89th minute. Baba Yara wept bitterly after the match. It was this dramatic victory which first earned Hasaacas the tag ‘Giants of the West ‘
When the referee submitted his report on this match, the day-to-day administrative committee of the Ghana National League suspended Kwao Baffoe for four weeks for “insolent behavior and for striking a player in the course of the play .”
On July 19, 1959, Kotoko supporters were still mourning over their defeat when Cornerstone who were behind Kotoko on the League Table moved to the top with a dramatic 6-5 victory over Kotoko at the Jackson Park. Kotoko had a better team, but Kwao Baffoe’s absence was greatly felt.
Sebastian Duncan who was in the goal was the most disappointing player on the field that day, and after the match he was never fielded again by Kotoko.
Those were the last two matches of the first round.
The National League was then suspended for two weeks because of the visit of the German team -Fortuna Dusseldorf.
The German tourists play Asante Kotoko at the Jackson Park, Kumasi, on August 8, beat Kotoko 4-3. All the three goals for Kotoko were penalties scored by center half Dogo Moro, a specialist. The tourists had earlier beaten Hearts of Oak 3-2 and Southern Ghana 6-1.
Kotoko’s performance that day was very poor. And although they showed many glimpses of greatness it was only Adarkwa who played a remarkable game.
On the whole, 1959/60 National League season was a great season for the Kumasi clubs because it was the season both the Champions and the runner up came from the great city of Kumasi which Mr Ohene Djan once described as “Ghana’s soccer power station .”
Cornerstone had attempted to be the first Club in Ghana to win the “DOUBLE ” because, before they met Kotoko for the last match of the season, both clubs were on equal points, with 20 each.
Here are extracts from Sam Boahene’s report which appeared in the Daily Graphic on the match :
“Asante Kotoko are this year’s soccer League Champions. They beat F. A. Cup holders Kumasi Cornerstones 3-0 in their last League match at the new Kumasi Sports Stadium yesterday to win the much coveted trophy.
“The first half ended in a goal-less draw, but Kotoko came with greater determination during the second half and thrilled the packed house with their usual ‘hush hush ‘ moves which gave them an easy 3-0 victory over their rivals with only 20 minutes to full time… ”
Scorers were Yara 1, Mfum1 and Adarkwa 1.
It was a sensational match which created a “Cup Day ” atmosphere and the hottest League final on record.
THE FINAL LEAGUE TABLE
Asante Kotoko 22
Hearts of Oak. 17
Eleven Wise. 6
By: George ‘Alan Green’ Mahamah