Tuesday, August 26, 2008

After being wounded by Etoile du Sahel...KOTOKO POISED FOR EL-MERREIKH (GRAPHIC SPORTS, BACK PAGE)

THE pre-match atmosphere in Kumasi is not as buoyant as it should have been.
Kumasi Asante Kotoko's unimpressive start to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup seemed to have shaken the very fabric of the support base.
But smarting under the 2-0 defeat by Etoile du Sahel in Sousse, Asante Kotoko will attempt to get back into the CAF Confederation Cup competition on Sunday.
When they encounter Sudan's El-Merreikh in the second group game at the Baba Yara Stadium the players know that only a win would guarantee their search for the ultimate.
All predictions are pointing to a tight match but the home invincibility of Asante Kotoko can hardly be underestimated in a match of this nature.
El-Merreikh who won 3-1 in their first group match against Algeria's JSK, are in fantastic shape but they would be meeting Kotoko at the wrong time when the Porcupine Warriors appeared wounded and ready to attack with full force.
Last Friday, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II charged the team to go all out for a win on Sunday and it appeared the team is fired up for the match.
There are plenty of indications that Kotoko have admitted the enormity of the task in going for the ultimate. Club officials are therefore devising the best strategy to overcome the challenges as the competition progresses.
The collective nature of the Asante Kotoko team is unquestionable but the propensity to play to the gallery, sometimes draw them back.
On Sunday, they can only attack and attack with accuracy at goal as goals are crucial in a competition of this nature.
Coach Bashir Hayford would have the opportunity of using his inspirational captain, Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, who was absent in the Sousse game due to suspension.
Kuffour has been an inspirational force that drives the team to perform, and he can only do what is expected of him.
In attack, they have the quick-thinking Eric Bekoe as the main spearhead.
The striker must be focused at goal because goals are very important in this competition.
Former Heart of Lions defender Ofosu Appiah appears a perfect catch by Kotoko and his inclusion in the back line would help tighten up the defence to ward off any threat from the Sudanese side.

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