Asante Kotoko will aiming for their first win of the season when they face Mauritanian side, FC Nouadhibou today in the return leg of their CAF Champions League preliminary stage game at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Ghana’s other representative, AshantiGold which play in the Confederations Cup Competition – CAF’s lower club competition – have a difficult task as they attempt to advance ahead of Burkinabe giants , Salitas FC away in Ouagadougou.
The ‘Miners’ failed to crack the Burkinabes at the Len Clay Stadium last week, settling for a goalless draw, a result that put the ‘Miners’ in a difficult position to qualify.
Unlike AshantiGold, Kotoko’s path to qualification is easier, requiring a goalless encounter to sail through, having held the Mauritanian champions to a pulsating 1-1 in the initial leg.
But Kotoko’s winless situation in the new season has become a matter of concern for the Porcupine Warriors who would try to ignore those statistics and aim at winning convincingly to make qualification certain. Coach Konadu’s deep concern would be his side’s low goal scoring form and consistent inability to sustain or preserve leads.
In all three games including the first leg against Nouadhibou, Kotoko watched as their 1-0 leads ended 1-1 as opponents always manage to find their way back.
Eager to make a statement and to shake-off any growing frustration among the fan base, Konadu and his boys would target a big win to set their season rolling.
Apart from influential goalkeeper Felix Annan and midfielder Mudasiru Salifu who are nursing injuries, Konadu boast of the likes of winger Emmanuel Gyamfi, lateral defenders Christopher Nettey and Imoro Ibrahim, midfield dynamo Emmanuel Keyekeh and the burgeoning partnership between Kwame Opoku and Osman Ibrahim to deliver the goods needed to send the ‘Porcupine Warriors’ through.
In contrast, Ashgold gaffer Milovan Cirkovic would require a shrewd performance from his side that involves intense concentration and sharpness in front of goal – missing elements that cost them in Obuasi – to advance.
He would rely on strongman Richard Osei Agyemang who has in recent times been a force to lead his backline, creative players Appiah McCarthy, David Abagna and Yaw Annor to be at their very best and experience marksman Hans Kwofie to convert the opportunities that come his way.
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO