Ghana’s representatives in the 2018 CAF club competitions aim for continental triumph in their epic second leg encounters on Wednesday.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, Asante Kotoko managed a narrow 1-0 win against CARA Brazzaville through a penalty strike from Yakubu Mohammed. A game that recorded five penalties could have granted the Porcupines a huge win in Kumasi but it seemed ” Lady Luck” had a different message for Saddick Adams, Amos Frimpong and Baba Mahama as their spot kicks were brilliantly saved by CARA goalie Ibrahim Sy.
The day seemed exciting for the Congolese national team player. But the best man for CARA on the afternoon failed the best chance from, perhaps, the best spot on the pitch with his effort perfectly claimed by Felix Annan.
CONGO – THE JUNGLE
The players sang to while away time as they waited for the GH Ambassadors Vehicles🙌
— Asante Kotoko SC (@AsanteKotoko_SC) February 20, 2018
Elsewhere at the Petro Sports Stadium, Egypt, Aduana Stars were guests to Al Tahaady in the CAF Champions League preliminaries. A 1-0 loss might be a pleasurable result knowing how resolute and vigorous the Fire Boys are at their dreaded Nana Agyemang Badu Park.
Good morning #ogya family. A new day He has given us and team ADUANA is preparing hard towards our return league with Al Tahaddy. Our boys are poised for action & ready to play their hearts out. These are the rates for our game; Popular stand-GHS15, VIP wings-GHS30 & VIP-GHS40. pic.twitter.com/IhR3VBcYXv
— Aduana Stars Football Club (@AduanaStarsFc) February 15, 2018
Ghanaian football fans hope that the two slots lost some years ago can be regained through the performance of the two giants. But do both clubs have a huge chance of qualifying?
Sportsnewsgh.com spoke to top Ghanaian football journalists on the chances of the two local clubs. Enjoy their opinions below:
Muftawu Abdulai Nabila (Kwese TV)
For Kotoko, 27 times they have participated in Africa, 2 times they were champions and 6 times as runners up in the CAF’s elite inter-club football tourney. Their two attempts in the Confederation Cup (2004 as runners up and 2008 in the group stages) are even enough to explain their pedigree and that’s the best motivation for the squad.
It’s a tough nut to crack in Brazzaville but the desire and the football they displayed gives Ghanaians lots of hope. With all these in mind, there’s that optimism that the team will qualify and I’m also optimistic about their success in the preliminaries.
A 1-0 result is not what Aduana can’t overcome at Dormaa, but blocking the leakages that were evident in the first leg will be the most important task. They have the quality to produce what’s expected of them from a Ghanaian perspective.
Dan Kwaku Yeboah (Peace FM/ Despite Media Group)
It is obvious that Asante Kotoko has a difficult task ahead and I doubt they can qualify. Converting two or three of the penalties they had in Kumasi could have helped in securing qualification. On the African scene, a 1-0 lead is not enough and I honestly feel it’s a goodbye. They can’t make it!
For Aduana, they did well even though they lost in Egypt. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get an early equaliser and move on to win. With a great coach like Yusif Abubakar and the home support, I believe they will qualify to the next stage.
Benjamin Yamoah (Ultimate FM/EIB Network)
With the quality Aduana Stars possess and what we saw from Al Tahaady in the first leg, I think Aduana will eliminate the Libyans. They have the quality to score at least two goals and defend well and can make the home advantage count as well.
Frankly speaking, I think it will be difficult for Kotoko to qualify. The Porcupines have been struggling in front of goal and could only score one. The CARA team were in great from before the first leg winning their last three games. It is obvious that they will score and as to if Kotoko can score and maintain their composure is what I think it is worrying. I wish Kotoko can remain in the competition but I have doubts.
Frederick Acheampong (Kessben FM/ Kessben Media Group)
I’m very optimistic that both clubs will make it. Aduana’s consistency at home will be vital and with a 1-0 loss, I am of the conviction that they can win especially with the tactical prowess of Yusif Abubakar and the experience of the team generally. They must just take their chances especially in the first half.
CARA’s performance in Kumasi was unexceptional even though I know at home, they will certainly open up. But watching Kotoko’s play in the first leg contest, we can have some hope if they replicate the same performance. Coach Steve Pollack was spot on and it could have been a different story if Kotoko utilized the four penalties. With what I saw in Kumasi, Kotoko will be in the next of the competition
Charles Osei Asibey (Asempa FM/Multimedia Group Limited)
For Kotoko, almost every Ghanaian has given up that they can sail through. For Aduana, erasing a 1-0 deficit is quiet manageable. If Aduana can change a 1-0 loss at home, CARA has the strength at home as well. But this is the African game where away goals are usually used to win, so Kotoko and Al Tahaady can still pull up surprises despite playing away.
Aduana will have to perform better than what they did in Egypt and in the shape of Kotoko, if they create more chances like they did in Kumasi. I have the belief and I wish that both clubs will qualify but Kotoko’s chances looks gloomy.
Saddick Adams “Sports Obama” (Atinka FM/Atinka Media Village)
Both sides have a realistic chance of making it to the next stage. For Asante Kotoko, it looks a bit dicey after missing three of the four penalty kicks and for them to travel to Congo which I believe is one of the dreaded venues in terms of African football. If they are able to keep a clean sheet and score at least a goal, they have a considerable chance. Let’s say a 50% chance of progressing.
On Aduana, ask any football pundit and the person will talk of the strength when they are in action at the Nana Agyemang Badu Park with the backing of their vociferous fans. You remember even when they lost to Wydad Casablanca by a huge margin away, they came back to win 1-0 and that explains who they are at home in their first attempt of African competitions. So they have a bigger advantage. An 80-100% chance for them.
Well let’s await the fate of the two sides on Wednesday. Sportsnewsgh.com wishes Aduana Stars and Asante Kotoko luck on their pursuit for continental glory.
By Dennis Ivan Opoku
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