Southampton have linked up with Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko SC as one of the English Premier League side’s international partners.
Kotoko, winners of a record 23 league titles, are also one of the best supported teams in Ghana and twice been African champions, in 1970 and 1983.
The Porcupine Warriors said in a statement on social media they were “elated” to announce the “ground-breaking” partnership which “seeks to plug Kotoko into Southampton and ensure a sustainable development.”
While on its website Southampton said they “will support the development of Ghanaian Premier League Asante Kotoko’s strategy both on and off the pitch.”
“Southampton will share their industry-leading coaching expertise to help Asante Kotoko realise their ambition of building a sustainable Academy and pathway to the first team, with year-round remote support supplemented by regular visits to Ghana throughout the partnership from the club’s International Football Partnership team,” the club added.
“The partnership will include Academy staff exchange visits between the UK and Ghana, as well as opportunities for Asante Kotoko’s young players to attend annual UK Player Development camps and experience the Southampton Academy methodology first-hand, when travel corridors open up and it is safe to travel.
“Southampton will also support the development of Asante Kotoko’s commercial and operational strategy through collaborating on key projects.”
Asante Kotoko’s chief executive, Nana Yaw Amponsah acknowledges that the clubs have different financial challenges but is confident the link up will work.
“This partnership enables us to plug Asante Kotoko into Southampton in such a way that Kotoko functions like Southampton,” he said.
“Kotoko would have everything Southampton has but to a level that reflects our different budgets.
“I believe that with the expertise and resources available at Southampton, we can tap into this and develop our setup to look and feel professional like Saints.”
Southampton’s Mark Abrahams, Director of Business and Community Development, is also looking forward to working with Kotoko.
“During these challenging times we’re delighted to have agreed a long-term partnership to work with Asante Kotoko,” he said.
“Nana Yaw has a clear vision for Asante Kotoko to be a self-sustainable football club both on and off the pitch. We look forward to working with him and his team to support their development.”