On this day 24 January 1971 (Exactly 48 years ago) Asante Kotoko won its first CAF Champions’ Clubs Cup (now Champions League) , after beating T. P. Englebert (now T. P. Mazembe) 2-1 in Zaire (DR Congo) at the Tatat Raphael Stadium in Kinshasa in front of the head of State of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga .
Abubakari Gariba put Kotoko ahead in the 12th minute, before left winger Martin Tshinabu Wamunda ‘Brinch’ put Englebert on level 7 minutes later. Malik Jabir, who was in his high element, struck a low grounder to beat Robert Kazadi Mwamba in post for Englebert with 10 minutes left to play.
Just after Kotoko had finished celebrating their goal , the referee awarded a penalty to the home side but Tshinabu, whether scared by antics of Robert Mensah in post or scared by the large crowd, blew it over the bar to give Kotoko a sigh of relief.
From this time onwards, it was Robert Mensah who stood between Englebert and victory, as he made fantastic saves to keep the teams’ dream alive.
Englebert had drawn with Kotoko 1-1 in Kumasi two weeks before the memorable second leg in Kinshasa.
Kotoko on their return sent the trophy to Otumfuo Opoku Ware 11, the owner of the club at the time, at Manhyia Palace.
T. P. Englebert :Martin Tshinabu Wamunda ‘Brinch(19)
Kotoko : Abubakari Gariba 12, Malik Jabir (80)
Kotoko Starting XI: Robert Mensah, Ben Kusi, Oliver Acquah, Clifford Odame, Ohene Brenya, Ibrahim Sunday, Sule Musah, Yaw Sam, Abubakari Gariba
, Malik Jabir, Osumanu Orlando.
SUBS: Essel Mensah, Osei Kofi, Albert Essuman (Baby Pele), Atia Mohammed Musah, Bobie Ansah, Dogo Moro.
It should be noted that although the final was played in January 1971, it was 1970 Club Championship, therefore, Asante Kotoko in the record books are the champions of 1970 , with Canon Yaounde who beat Kotoko in the final later the same year as the Champions of 1971.
Zac Bentum, the chairman of the Organisation of Ghana League Clubs Association (OGLCA), in a congratulatory message , said ‘Kotoko had
demonstrated by their victory that a club could only hope to achieve greatness by dedication, perseverance, hard work and discipline.
“Ghana football will once again be on the ascendancy internationally if clubs will emulate the shinning example set by Kotoko .”
Henry Djagba, chief patron of Abuakwa Susu Biribi, said “The whole Ghana was proud of the achievement of Asante Kotoko and hoped it would inspire other Ghanaian clubs to similar achievements in the future. “
Hearts of Oak’s Steele Dadzie, who was then the secretary of the club said “On behalf of the entire Hearts of Oak team, please accept my warmest congratulations for your outstanding performance in African clubs soccer Championship. “
On this day 24 January 1960(Exactly 59 years ago) The entire Executive Committee of Asante Kotoko led by Mr J. D. Amuah resigned en bloc following a vote of no- confidence passed on them for the second time within a year by the players and members of the Club at a meeting held at the Jackson Park.
In their resolution, the players alleged that the Executive members had failed to discharge their duties in the interest of the club. Signatories to the resolution included Baba Yara, Mfum, Salisu, Fred Akuffo, Dogo Moro and Asebi Boakye (then the oldest player in the club, and at that time a coach attached to the C. O. S.). Asebi was once called the “nine -goal demon. ” He made a great sensation when he scored nine goals in an inter -departmental match in Kumasi.
The members of the Executive Committee were : J. D. Amuah, Chairman; Kwaku Duah, Secretary; Malam Idi J. E. Acheampong, Vice-Chairman; Nyamekye and Gabriel Arthur who had been a Team Manager for 16 years.
J. D. later told reporters that the Executive accepted the contents of the Resolution and in the interest of the club, “we have resigned in good faith. “
Kotoko had won the 1959/1960 League Championship on January 3, 1960. Three weeks later, on January 24, to be exact, this resignation happened.
Mr J. D. Amuah joined Kotoko in 1937, and held various posts. He was chairman twice, twice as vice chairman, and once a team manager. On assuming office, he devoted greater part of his time to the club. Amuah was respected in high places and his advocacies for the Club received in no small measure. Like his predecessors, he was always in the front line as far as the Club was concerned. He travelled with the Club in all its away matches.
It was he who led Kotoko to their outstanding performance in the “Aspro” (FA) Cup and League double.
By George ‘Alan Green’ Mahamah