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SONGNÉ YACOUBA - THE ASSASSIN IN THE 'FALSE 9' ROLE

4 goals in 5 league games meant Kotoko's search for a goal poacher was a thing of the past. Having arrived in Kumasi as a free agent from Stade Malien de Bamako, the pacy outside forward showed his exploits in friendlies prior to his debut league game. These heightened fans' anxiety since recurrent injuries to Saddick Adams, an injury to Abass Mohammed and Yakubu's dip in form had left the porcupines bereft of a goal threat. 

Current Executive Chairman of the club, Prof. Dr. Kyei's reign was already in shatters as then club topscorer, Dauda Mohammed had joined Anderlecht in Belgium. The club quickly moved in for the services of Yakubu Mohammed who only flattered to deceive. His dip in form coincided with the sack of Coach Lugarasic and the latter appointment of Steve Polack. 
Yacouba lets one fly against Zesco United in Kumasi 
Polack revived the club's hope with a quick switch for former Ghanaian youth player, Saddick Adams. Adams who has previously played for Athletico Madrid B adapted to his new role and managed to get 10 in 13 appearances for the Reds including a hat-trick against bitterest rivals, Accra Hearts of Oak in the 2017 MTN FA Cup final. A missed penalty in the first leg of their CAF Confederations Cup qualifier and an injury in Brazaville against CARA was the begin of the end for the club's reported highest earner. 

Saddick further suffered  concussion when Kotoko took on Hearts of Oak in the 2nd leg Ghana@60 Cup. His inability to finish the game left fans with polarized views of his potentials. The striker took a long lay off with the club appointing a new coach to lead the club into the new season (2018). A new unknown name was also making the airwaves as Adams' new strike partner,  Songne Yacouba. 

The Burkinabe import was flourishing in friendlies and training sessions. New Coach,  Kwesi Fabin took to the media to express his joy at the potential of having him partner new recruit Fred Boateng who had managed 3 goals in his first 4 league games. 

With his paperwork sealed, the attacker who had played with an eye for goals in the friendlies debuted on matchday 10 against Hearts of Oak. He was lively playing off the shoulders of Fred Boateng. Kotoko lost but he got his goal in the next fixture away to Karela United which ended in defeat too. Boateng, Adams and Yacouba all started this game. 

With the transfer window opened, the Coach requested for 7 players to be laid off. Saddick was part of the list having played just one league game the whole season. His absence meant Yacouba was to be the main character in attack. 

Yacouba who was more accustomed to the wings in his previous clubs in Burkina Faso and Mali took up the new challenge and some adventure it was. 3 goals in 3 games and a penalty won against Liberty Professionals made him a household name. 5 assists in 5 starts in the club's continental quest this year voices his endeavour. 5 goals in 4 friendlies playing behind Boateng or Owusu Obed climaxed his showmanship during the recent break. First to all the loose balls. 

Blessed with excellent movement off the ball and the ability to skip past markers, the attacker is enjoying an unheralded success as a 'False 9'. Just like Arsene Wenger did in 2009 with Robin Van Persie as a 'False 9', Kotoko's Akonnor has found a gem in the former Etoile Filante wideman.

Similarly to Van Persie whose presence accommodated Bendtner or Eduardo in a two top, Yacouba is flourishing with Safiu Abdul Fatawu with the later netting 2 and assisting 1 in the Confederations Cup. For a side that likes to pass from the back, his ball playing abilities suits. 

His runs behind defenders has seen him miss clear cut chances but the same attribute has seen him win 2 penalties for the side in the campaign. His ability to drop deep has seen Fatawu make runs with Gyamfi and Baako also thriving on that. His link up play has formed this strike team. 

As a deep-lying striker: Yacouba has exhibited the dribbling ability to take advantage of space between the lines, good short passing to link up with the midfield and the vision to play through teammates making runs from deep to goal with him taking the centre backs away. 

Once he finds the touch to send those sitters and curlers into the net, he will be the perfect 'False 9'. Until then, his dead ball speciality, his ability to start Kotoko's defending from the front amongst others should be enjoyed. Every defender's nightmare! Zesco's Mwape was the last to testify as he ran him rugged. 

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