Asante Kotoko have the chance to win the two novelty competitions as they prepare to face Ashantigold this afternoon at the Accra Sports Stadium in the semi-final clash of the Tier Two knockout.
The Porcupines last Sunday beat Hearts of Oak 5-4 on penalties to advance to the final of the Tier One competition and would play Karela United to determine who wins the slot to participate in next season’s CAF Champions League.
Before that, Coach Akonnor and his charges have a major task to perform in midweek. That task is to eliminate Ashantigold and secure another final berth to edge closer to the double ambition.
Kotoko and Ashantigold have this season been strong at home. Perhaps playing in the capital, on a neutral ground on Wednesday is a fine time for both teams to show which side is the best. It must be the Porcupines, who first defeated their regional rivals 2-0 in Kumasi in group stage of the Tier One competition.
Ashantigold were however winners in the reverse fixture on day a lacklustre performance by the Porcupines left Coach Akonnor furious at the Len Clay Stadium, Obuasi. A disappointed Coach Akonnor demanded improvement from his team and since then, there has a marked difference in the output of the Porcupines, who on Sunday showed brilliance in penalty shootouts to win.
Days of camping in the mountainous region of Asante-Mampong put the team in good shape for the Hearts of Oak clash and the refreshing news is that, the Porcupines haven’t done away with that fineness, which they must replicate against Ashantigold to keep the double dream on track.
While Kotoko overcame Hearts of Oak on Sunday in Accra, throwing their thousands of fans into wild jubilation, Ashantigold were crestfallen at Obuasi, where they lost 0-1 to Karela United to miss the Tier One final. Thus, the Miners will head to Accra with the objective of fighting hard to salvage their image and to glean something to appease their despondent supporters.
Kotoko shouldn’t allow that to happen. Another triumph for Kotoko will reinforce the evidence already presented, that, we have been the best and most active team in normalisation times. Given the painful defeat at home, Ashantigold might alter their team to get the desired result; Akonnor might as well fortify his winning team to also pick the final qualification ticket at stake.
TV Channel and How To Watch:
The game will be shown live on TV on GTV, GTV Sports+ and Kotoko Express App.
Game: Asante Kotoko SC vs Ashantigold SC
Date: Wednesday, June 19.
Time: 15hrs GMT.
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
Kotoko are still in the capital and have had good rest. There was no report of injury as of press time aside the story of a recuperating Songne Yacouba, who could be handed some minutes of action today.
Asante Kotoko probable XI: Ibrahim Danlad, Augustine Sefa, Evans Owusu, Abdul Ganiu, Wahab Adams, Kwame Bonsu, Amos Frimpong, Emmanuel Gyamfi, Abdul Fatawu, Naby Keita.
Ashantigold’s Coach, Zakariasson have a full house to pick from after Osei Agyemang who had an ankle problem returned to full training last week.
Meanwhile, Shafiu Mumuni and MacCarthy will undergo a late fitness test after they picked from training last week. The team arrived in Accra yesterday.
Robert Dabuo, Richard Dodji and Samed Ibrahim will be expecting to get a starting berth today after starting from the bench in their last game against Karela last Sunday in the Tier 1 semi final.
AshantiGold probable XI: – Frank Boateng, Emmanuel Nti Mensah, Richard Osei Agyeman, Mubarik Yussif, Abdul Latif Anabila, Appiah MacCarthy, Emmanuel Owusu, Amos Nkrumah, Mark Agyekum, Mumuni Shafiu.
The wins chalked by both Kotoko and Ashantigold at home when they clashed in the Tier One competition give ample testimony of their strength in their backyard.
However, with Wednesday’s game being out of their natural habitats, who will carry the day? From all indications, it’s Asante Kotoko that look likely to win but Coach Akonnor and his lads must leave nothing to chance.
Victory might be assured but then they would have to once again, go all out, fight relentlessly to take the final ticket which is well within reach for the double dream to stay alive.
Both teams posses quality players, and certainly, the results of the game will be decided by the tactical prowess of the two coaches.
The venue offers a proper neutral venue for both clubs to showcase what they have installed, and fans will expect to have a better of the performance as displayed by the Hearts of Oak vs Asante Kotoko game in Accra.
The winner of the competition will get the ticket to represent Ghana in the 2019-2020 CAF Confederation Cup season.