Tuesday, September 2, 2008


WITH all four sides in the group – El-Merreikh, Etoile du Sahel, JS Kabylie and Asante Kotoko — tied up at three points, one may argue that the group is open.
But finding themselves at the bottom of the group due to inferior goals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko need no one to remind them how crucial goals are in the CAF Confederation Cup championship.
The going against El-Merrikh last Sunday was tough, no doubt about
that. But Kotoko could have done better with the score line had they remained focused upfront.
On about six occasions, Kwabena Yaro and Bekoe found themselves in scoring range but messed up.
Nevertheless, Eric Bekoe proved he is an enigma. Sometimes you have to dig deep into your thinking faculty to come to terms with how he scores his goals.
The striker who has been an inspirational performer since joining Kotoko at the beginning of the season has never ceased scoring.
When he pulled the trigger and fetched that crucial goal with just three minutes to end the CAF Confederation Cup group tie against El-Merreikh it brought to the fore the great potentials in the young striker.
He said after the match: "When the going became tough, something struck me that all eyes were on me to save the day for the club and I thank God that my prayers were heard".
Having laboured in vain for the greater period of the match, Bekoe made up for the lost opportunities with that 87th minute strike, beating impressive keeper Akram El-Habi by converting on the turn a fine pass from striking partner, Kwadwo Poku.
For Asante Kotoko, the 1-0 victory should be a morale booster but they need to be wary of the task ahead as they have to extricate themselves from the bottom placing. El-Merreikh who were sent reeling to their first defeat in the championship looked battle — ready than their opponents.
Even Asante Kotoko coach, Bashir Hayford, admitted that the Sudanese side were stronger and powerful on the field.
Hayford and his counterpart with El-Merreikh, Michael Kruger, were happy but disappointed.
Both believed they squandered opportunities that should have won the day for them.
Hear Hayford: " I think we played well on the day but I am not happy with the chances we wasted. All the same we won and that is what is important".
Mr Kruger also said: "My players played to tactics but I am downhearted because of the two or three fine chances we missed".
The coach hit the nail right on the head because it was difficult to fathom how striker Ahmed Omar Eldir could waste that chance in the 58th minute when slack defending by Kotoko saw him before an empty net only to hesitate for brilliant defender Ofosu Appiah to run to clear on the goal line.
"In away matches you don't have to waste such fine opportunities because you can be punished for that, and this exactly what happened to us", coach Kruger said.

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