Chelsea, Kotoko in do-or-die affair

BY: Samuel K. Obour

League title aspirants, Berekum Chelsea, are braced for their toughest derby in premiership life as they take on Arsenal at Dormaa-Ahenkro this afternoon, as champions and closest challengers, Asante Kotoko, travel to Heart of Lions’ den at Kpando.

In typical do-or-die battles, Arsenal and Lions enter their respective matches with everything to gain and all to lose as they fight for their dear premiership lives.

With just three games remaining, today’s matches have assumed the importance of cup finals for both the title contenders and the relegation-threatened, and fate could not have handed the four more tougher matches at this stage.

Indeed, for Arsenal especially, today may be their last chance to salvage a crumbling campaign, a season hanging on thin ropes — and hopes — and threatening to end an 11-year stay in the top flight.

That the match has been moved to the Nana Agyemang Badu Park at Dormaa-Ahenkro on account of the home ban placed on Arsenal as a result of crowd violence defines the frustrating season the local Gunners have endured throughout the season. But now, their fate hinges on a favourable result from the Chelsea match.

League football has no place for favours, but Arsenal can easily point to last year when Chelsea’s last gasp equaliser against Mighty Jets saved Arsenal’s premiership status at the expense of Jets on the last day of the season.

Today, whether Chelsea can sustain their ambition to reclaim the title they lost to Kotoko last year or Arsenal can breathe an air of potential relief, depending on how the likes of Chelsea’s Bismark Idun, Edward Kpodo, Abdul Bassit and Jordan Opoku are able to overcome the desperate fight from Douglas Nkrumah and Co. who have an arduous task of rescuing their club from the ignominy of relegation. 

At the Kpando Park, Kotoko’s coach Mas-Ud Didi Dramani enters another phase in his turbulent stint at the league champions with whom his post has been under constant scrutiny with occasional mention of a potential sack.

Against the uninspiring form of Lions, he has one more chance to prove their championship credentials, at least in the event Chelsea slip in the homestretch.

In other matches, Medeama SC take on Wa All Stars at the Tarkwa T&A Park, King Faisal play Amidaus Professionals at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, AshantiGold and Liberty Professionals clash at Len Clay Stadium at Obuasi, Aduana Stars host relegation-bound Real Tamale United at the Sunyani Coronation Park, Accra Hearts of Oak welcome Dwarfs to the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, while Tema Youth engage New Edubiase United at the Tema Park.

Preview: Michael Quaye/Graphcic Sports