Citi Sports editor Nathan Quao returns with his column and this week, he talks about the epic boxing showdown Bukom Banku and Bastie Samir, the horror shows put out by Manchester United and Liverpool in the Premier League and the end of the road for Great Olympics and Tema Youth in the Ghana Premier League.
Banku was finally ‘eaten’
After 29 bouts, the unbeaten run held by Ghana’s most popular boxer in modern times, Braimah Kamoko aka Bukom Banku, was torn apart in rather spectacular fashion on Saturday at the Bukom Boxing Arena.
He came up against rival, Bastie Samir, in a much-hyped “Make Or Break” bout and truly, it was made for Bastie and it broke for Banku but it was not without incident. How could it have made headlines if it was all smooth?
First, there was a hold up for close to 20 minutes due to disagreements over the size and mass of Bastie’s gloves and I found it very distasteful since the bout was live on SuperSport and by extension, the whole of Africa.
But eventually, the bell went and it was seven rounds of great action. Banku won the first two rounds and perhaps, it was because he was looking to end it quickly and make good on the promise of a knockout.
That did not happen and Bastie gathered himself and boxed on the front foot. His strengths and skills from years of boxing at an amateur level (including the 2008 Olympic Games where he captained Ghana’s boxing team) began to show and he landed great combinations to win the 3rd, 4th and 7th rounds when he finally sent Banku down to the canvas and leave fans either stunned or standing for joy.
Takeways? Yes. It seems Banku’s fall has excited a lot of people. The trash talking and the overt disrespect towards Bastie seems to have either rubbed people the wrong way or they just wanted to see a good contest and they got one for sure.
The other point for me is the Bastie Samir’s exhibition on the day. He proved that he could really slug it out and that he had the ability to succeed but I wonder if it not too late for that. I do not know if he is considering making a push for bigger recognition but with good management and his own application, a good try will be worth his time.
The bout goes into the top ranks of my favourite boxing bouts but as for Bukom Banku, the trolls will continue. He needs to take them on the chin.
The teams in red
On Saturday’s installment of the Premier League which was live on Citi 97.3 FM, I saw a sickening performance from Man United at Huddersfield and it sent my day into a dark spiral. There was no attitude, no guts and certainly, no urgency leading to a 2-1 loss and to add to that, my taps at home ere left unclosed and so, I was called home to meet a flood.
But the water could not cool the rage in my mind as I reflected on Juan Mata’s silly error of losing a pass and failing to stop Aaron Mooy from going on a run that led to Huddersfield’s first goal.
I was even angrier at Victor Lindelof at his school-boy decision not to clear a long ball which set up Huddersfield’s second goal.
I think Jose Mourinho said it well when he underlined the fact that a loss to a team which fared better on attitude was a bad loss. I side totally with him. I would rather lose to a super team than one which ran more and showed more willingness.
I hope the manager will take hard decisions to punish the unserious players. Plus, we do need players back from injury. The team will look, feel and play better, I believe.
But then, I looked at Liverpool and I kept shaking my head. They gave four goals to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Dejan Lovren gave two away, Joel Matip handed one over and the entire defensive group gave the fourth away in the second half after a free kick.
It is now reaching laughable levels when Liverpool’s defence is mentioned and Jurgen Klopp has to do something now. The odd occurrence will be glossed over and not a lot of sleep will be lost. They will be fixed quickly because it is out of character. A quick jolt to the system will put things right.
But when a problem keeps showing its head very often after only 9 rounds of a 38-game league season, then the manager must wake himself up first, see the reality and work on his charges until they are immune to sleep.
Until Liverpool do that, a lot more of the comedy shows will be aired for the world to see.
Spurs, though, were brilliant. Knowing when to hold their shape and when to break forward accentuated their readiness for the match and it further underlined their willingness to adapt and succeed.
And when they were breached, Hugo Lloris was magnificent.
Arsenal get high marks for their classy away victory at Everton. Even after conceding a goal from Wayne Rooney, their old enemy, they never looked in danger.
They pulled it even through Nacho Monreal and it was an onward march towards the three points from that point.
Ozil and Sanchez reprised their roles from seasons past with some great passing and movement while Lacazette and Ramsey played with energy and great tempo.
The future is unclear when Sanchez and Ozil are mentioned but while the Gunners have them in their hands, they need to get the best from their most creative sources.
Bye bye to Olympics and Tema Youth
It was never in doubt and on Sunday, what was known was confirmed. Great Olympics performed their usual routine of getting themselves relegated a season after promotion.
The stumbles were too many at the start of the season and the confusion involving Godwin Attram and Tom Strand in the head coach’s role rocked the boat too strongly.
Attram tried to set things right but that was not to be.
However, Tema Youth started well but they went on a skid and even when they knew the value of beating Elmina Sharks at home in Week 28, they failed woefully.
The departure of Joseph Paintsil to Hungary affected them but a better collective effort was needed. Their coach, Edward Odoom, complained of poor officiating a few times but he should have built his team to withstand the tough nature of the league.
Thumbs up to the survivors: Bechem United, Berekum Chelsea, Inter Allies, Liberty Professionals and Elmina Sharks. Some took advantage of their final home games and others were tough on their travels.
However, the people at Bechem United should be strongly reprimanded for the shenanigans surrounding the inability to broadcast the match live. They claim a truck blocked the entrance of the stadium and that prevented the Startimes television crew from getting in to beam the match.
Are there no towing services in Bechem? Are there no mechanics? Fans of the team team vowed to prevent the game from aired live and the episode clearly shows that they delivered on the promise.
Will we see any punishment? Aduana Stars essentially walked away unscathed when their fans went down the same road so Bechem United could walk as well and we say we want corporate bodies to sponsor the league? I do not think we are serious about that objective.
Congrats to AshGold’s Hans Kwofie for winning the top scorer’s award. He scored four times against Aduana Stars to bag 17 goals and beat Stephen Sarfo who was leading the chart with 15 goals heading into the final round of matches.
That’s it folks!!!
Hit me up on Twitter @nathan_quao