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08 July 2017

Asante Kotoko coach Steve Pollack’s Column: Questions from the fans

Steve Pollack and Baba Mahama

Today, I will be answering six questions forwarded to me by the Editorial Team on Wednesday. But before that, let me touch a little on the President Cup and the upcoming game against Medeama.

The President Cup came up so we prepared well for the game like any normal game. On Sunday, the performance in the first half was good. Hearts of Oak came back strongly in the second half as we were in the first half. Then of course, it rained off so it got be postponed.

In a chat with the media, the Hearts of Oak assistant coach, Henry Wellington, and I decided not to play the game the next day because of fatigue and injuries. The welfare of the players is more important than the finances of the actual event. We eventually got back to play on Monday and it was a great feeling winning the trophy. It was my first trophy.

You always remember your first trophy. On Medeama, our next game, I’ve played against them before. I know how well they play. I will spend 95 per cent of my time getting my players ready for the game and maybe five per cent on the opponent. I will work more on how we’re going to play and how we are going to setup. We want to win every game. Now to your questions. 

Kojo Owusu-Sarfo, Roman Estate, Kasoa asked what I’m doing about set-pieces and scoring.

We are doing a lot of work on that. We’ve been doing a lot of scoring drills; crosses; two against two, one against one, and the normal things we’re supposed to do in football. We’re practicing and practicing and practicing. At the end of the day, we’ve to take everything we practice to the game. On set pieces, we’ve to get quality. It’s all about quality. It could be a throwing, it could be a corner, it could be a free kick; it could be a goal kick because it’s a set piece. It’s all about focusing on your job when you get a set piece. That will come but the quality has to get better.      

Assan Dickson, Dansoman, Accra also asked for my short-term targets for the team.

My short-term target is to play every game as it comes so, the next game is against Medeama. If I understand him rightly, it’s about target for the team at the end of the season. We’ve one trophy. I’ll take one game at a time. There’s still the possibility of winning the league but we’re just going to take care of our games. And also, we’re in the quarterfinals of the MTN FA Cup. We’ll stay in competition and we’re going to fight for them.

Agyeman Duah Prince, Asante Mampong wanted to know my plans for the Youth Team.

I’m ready for them. I was there last week. I had a little chat with them. I told them I’ll be coming around now and then to watch their training and watch their games. I gave them little advice on how they could get into the first team. I won’t be bringing anybody this week but next week, I will bring two players to come and train with us for a week and see how they get along.

Frank Owusu, Kokomlele, Accra asked if I’ve scouts to assist me in my work.

At the moment, I don’t have scouts or the club doesn’t have scouts at the moment. But we don’t know what the future will bring. It’s a good idea to have scouts – not only to scout teams but also to scouts for players. Scouts are a good tool for any manager. But at the same time, you must have scouts that you can trust.

Alex Ofei, Osu, Accra wanted to know why Kwame Baohene isn’t playing.

Kwame Boahene is still with the club. He’s working hard in training. But my philosophy is, if it isn’t broken, you don’t fix it. Sorry, the team is doing well. Yes, he’s pushing and pushing on the door. That’s good but the team’s doing so well. I don’t have to break up the winning formula.

Emmanuel Baffoe from Singapore touched on how I handle supporters’ criticism

I take them honestly. When they give me good things I’ve to take them honestly. My problem is, when somebody comes across aggressively or abusively, then I’m not interested. I won’t be listening. Basically, criticism isn’t only from supporters. It could come from the media. First of all, I don’t understand Twi language. I know what I can do and I know what my players can do.

Conclusion

I say a big thank you for all the support we had on Sunday and on Monday. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep supporting us because that’s what we need. Come along on Sunday and support us against Medeama. You’re so important to the players. I’m always working. We still need to be patient. Work is still in progress. We aren’t where I want to be. Keep having patience, keep having faith. We will deliver what we can. I’m happy for my first trophy not only for me but also for the players; my technical staff, the Management, the supporters and for everybody involved at Kotoko.



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