Asante Kotoko management team

Kotoko has unveiled a new ‘Killer’ management made up of persons with top-level experience in various fields.

But despite the big names, Kotoko only look like a startup in Kumasi with huge potential to succeed.

Though it may be disrespectful to describe an 85-year-old football club which has won the Ghana Premier League a record 23 times, the CAF Champions League twice and the African club of the century as a startup, it’s also equally ridiculous to compare Kotoko to a successful large company.

This is because key principles that define successful large companies like corporate governance has never existed at the club.

A startup is often a new company still in early stages brand management, sales and hiring employees.

The allocation of this concept to describe businesses that have been on the market for less than three years is not entirely true because there are businesses well over three years that are still startups.

To stop being a startup does not necessarily depend on age but growth. Here are 3 characteristics Kotoko have in common with successful startups.

 1. They Have Product-Market Fit

Having a product-market fit simply means selling a product or service customers actually want. The market must be willing and able to pay for what you’re selling. Successful startups know that an initial idea or product may need to be adjusted as it rolls out.

They continuously test their assumptions and change course as needed. Kotoko is a perfect example of a product that fit Ghana’s football market. This is evident in the huge support base they have across the country and abroad. It is believed that Kotoko’s fan base constitute 50% of the total fan base of all football clubs in Ghana.

This means Kotoko is a sellable product but currently need a lot of adjustment to succeed in today’s Africa football ecosystem. This explains why strategic portfolios such as commercial manger and diaspora and international relations manager, have been created in the newly formed management team headed by new chief executive Nana Yaw Amponsah.

2. They’re Passionate about Disruption

Successful startups are based on disruptive ideas. Disruption means changing the status quo in an existing marketplace or ecosystem. Changes in customer tastes, new technologies, legislation, new competitors etc can create pressure for more disruptive innovation-requiring companies to create entirely new products.

To thrive in today’s football market, Kotoko must become an entirely new football product built on innovation on and off the pitch. Today’s football fans are passionate, loyal and knowledgeable than ever. They are interested in a tactics on the pitch, creative online and digital content and pay attention to branding.

The choice of Nana Yaw Amponsah, a high profile, dynamic and young football administrator as CEO suggest Kotoko’s readiness to embrace disruptive ideas that will change the status quo in our football ecosystem.

One of such disruptive ideas by the new CEO is the partnership with InStat, a Russian based sports performance analysis company which provides professional tools for individual and team performance evaluation, scouting, fitness analysis and a panoramic filming technology.

Also, the newly formed eight-member management team made up persons with high level of expertise and experience from various fields of study including a Brazilian who is the clubs Legal Representative (International) is enough evidence of how disruptive Kotoko want to be in our football space.

Emmanuel Newton Dasoberi, long-standing club licensing manager of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and deputy Secretary-General in charge of administration at the Association has also resigned to pick up the role of administrative and operations manager at the club – a clear intent of their disruptive agenda. The driving factor of a successful startup is envisioning “a new normal” for their target market and this is what Nana Yaw Amponsah brings to the table

3. They take Feedback Seriously

Another quality of successful startups is their ability to adjust to feedback. Whether the feedback comes from investors, advisors, mentors, or customers, successful startups extract value from feedback to help improve their product, service, or business model.

After Kotoko were knocked out of last year’s confederation cup by Ivorian minnows FC San Pedro on a 2-1 aggregate, there were calls from the fans for then Chief Executive Officer, George Amoako to resign. Some even took to Twitter to register their displeasure over the team’s poor performance and the CEO’s incompetence after overseeing the appointment of coach Kjetil Zachariassen who allegedly used a fake certificate to get the job.

The feedback from the fans-key stakeholders of the club culminated in dissolving the George Amoako management team. But most importantly gave birth to a new ‘Killer’ management team that will thrive under the stellar Leadership of new CEO Nana Yaw Amponsah. Good leaders walk the talk and surround themselves with a skilled, hard-working team that shares their values and understands their dream.

The write, Kojo Darko Sakyi-Gyinae, is an entrepreneur who has a special interest in football and education