Tuesday, July 15, 2008


AFTER going through what they considered a terrible ordeal in Tripoli, Kumasi Asante Kotoko say they are planning a resounding victory over their opponents, Al Ittihad, in the second leg at the Baba Yara Stadium on July 27.
The Porcupine Warriors, however, gave the assurance that they would go for a clean victory and not a replica of the controversy-tainted win the Libyans recorded in Tripoli last Friday.
Kotoko lost 1-2 to Al Ittihad in the first leg final qualifier for the Group Stage in the CAF Confederation Cup match under bizarre circumstances and the club’s officials blamed the Kenyan referee for their loss.
Mr Sylvester Asare Owusu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Asante Kotoko, in an interview with the Graphic Sports yesterday said the officiating witnessed in Tripoli was one of the worst he had seen.
The unthinkable sending off of skipper Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, the strange penalty awarded the Libyan side and the many other questionable decisions against Kotoko by the referee were some of the issues Sylvester raised against the referee.
“I think that CAF must go at such referees in order to clean the African game”, he said.
To ensure that their protest did not remain on their lips, Kotoko have formally lodged their protest against the referee with CAF through the GFA.
“I think that CAF would move swiftly to deal with the situation”, the CEO said.
He questioned why a referee from East Africa was appointed for the match when in fairness the middleman should have come from West Africa.
CAF has appointed a referee from Tunisia for the second leg in Kumasi, and Sylvester said this goes to prove the unfairness in the system.
The CEO said it was refreshing that in spite of the torrid experience in Tripoli, the players were not downhearted and have promised to go all out in the second leg.
According to Sylvester, the team refused to eat from their hotel on the match day because they feared their food could be spiced with something that could weaken the players.
Management, the CEO said, was keeping all the players in camp to prepare for the return leg.
Sylvester said Harrison Afful would be available for the Kumasi match contrary to rumours that he had returned to Holland to pursue his contract with Feyenoord.
The CEO also dispelled rumours that top scorer, Eric Bekoe, was on his way out to Europe.
He said media reports that Tottenham Hotspurs had expressed interest in the player were not true.
“As far as we are concerned no club has officially written to us expressing interest in the striker”, he said.

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