Addressing Koopman’s conundrum
Coach Martin Koopman
When Accra Hearts of Oak newly signed on coach, Martin Koopman, announced last week that the club’s problems in the four-week old Ghana Premier League (GPL) season was due to the absence of a quality striker, he was doubted to be the right man for the job.
Koopman’s assessment of the team has generated argument not just among Phobian faithful over his competence and ability to steer the Rainbow boys to the ‘Promised Land.’
Rival fans have mocked the coach. Sympathisers also appear divided with Koopman’s assertion.
And just when concerns over finding a quality striker appear to be dyeing down, Koopman released another bombshell, telling his followers after drawing goalless with Dreams FC that four weeks into the new
season, he still does not have a regular first eleven.
Under normal circumstances, such concerns should not irritate the team’s followers because these are elements or factors a team needs to deliver.
“I am still looking for my best 11 to start and win games for Hearts; for now, I will keep trying the players until I get the right blend for the right results,” he told the media on Sunday.
The above presupposes that Koopman’s conundrum was far from over at least until he finds two things – a competent striker and a first eleven or starting team.
But one may quickly ask what has suddenly changed about a team that went on a goal-scoring spree during the pre-season; registering over 35 goals in the process.
Fascinatingly, the team keep scoring a lot of goals in the newly introduced recovery games after their league matches.
That, perhaps, should give credence to Koopman’s earlier claim that the problem should be laid at the doorstep of the team’s management for not helping him address the striking challenges.
Hearts’ only win in the competition has come against Nsoatreman at the Accra Sports Stadium with Congolese striker, Kashala Wanet, scoring the only goal of the match.
The Phobians have gone blank in the other games and that must certainly be a worry for a concerned coach who is obviously becoming frustrated with little or no effort from his bosses to address those concerns.
Interestingly, Wanet, the striker that saved his (Koopman) skin against Nsoatreman is the same player the coach is blaming for the team’s woes and asking to step up or face the drop.
In their last game, Wanet lasted for only 45 minutes, indicating Koopman’s dissatisfaction with the striker.
In the weeks before, Koopman had expressed hopes to sign another striker to strengthen the attacking department of the team, and to complement the efforts of Wanet.
In a no holds barred interview, the Dutch trainer made it clear the club was suffering from the exit of former striker,Issah Kukah, to KF Shkupi of North Macedonia on loan.
“I missed Kukah in this game (against Nsoatreman). I saw a lot of moments that he could have scored for us. We worked on him to bring him to that level but he’s gone. That is painful.”
Sadly for Koopman, that vacuum left by Kukah’s exit was expected to be filled by a Kassim Cissé from Cote d’Ivoire “but there is a problem that is above me. He trains with us. The board has brought him for me, but I want them to work on him, so he can start to play.”
Kassim is believed to be the architect, masterminding the pre-season and recovery games display for the Phobians but the failure to iron out registration issues has delayed his participation in the league.
That clearly underlines Koopman’s obstruction as he aims to remain with the elites to make a big title charge but having spelt it out clearly, it appears he has no other plan apart from the Kassim Cisse inclusion. It is a requirement the club’s management must meet, according to Koopman, to make the Phobians what they want to be.
By Andrew Nortey