JAK Cup thriller in Kumasi Will it be Kotoko or Ashgold?
Fabulous Asante Kotoko and Ashgold are chasing what could be, perhaps, their only silverware in a troubled Ghana football season via the maiden J.A. Kufuor Cup match at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi tomorrow.
In what is expected to be a mix of good football, culture and royalty, the game will be in honour of one of the distinguished sons of the land — former President John Agyekum Kufuor.
It will be a perfect moment to show appreciation to the one-time board chairman of Kotoko, and a man whose administration under Ghana's Fourth Republic gave the country two new stadia in Tamale and Essipon.
At 80, former President Kufuor may have seen it all, and tomorrow he will re-enact those tense moments when he prayed for his darling club, Kotoko, to carry the day.
But whether it is Kotoko or Ashgold, Mr Kufuor will still emerge a victor because the scoreline will be of little significance as compared to the occasion itself.
The annual event is under the auspices of the Kufuor Foundation, with Primeval Media as the organisers.
The football competition is expected to raise GH¢80 million in the next five years to support activities of the foundation in empowering future generation.
Per the arrangement, the competition is to be expanded in the subsequent years to include all the heavyweights in the country to make it more attractive.
With the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, expected to be in attendance, the 42,000-seater capacity stadium may be too small to accommodate the vociferous fans.
AshantiGold may not command the following as Kotoko but the owner and bankroller of the club, Mr Kwaku Frimpong, is relying on his financial muscle to bus at least 5,000 fans to rally support for the team.
Already a number of motivational items, including 'slim' phones have been promised each player of AshantiGold if they beat Kotoko.
In addition, the CEO of AshantiGold, Mr Frederick Acheampong, has promised nothing but victory and a showcase of a rebranded Ashgold tomorrow.
That call was buttressed by Frimpong, who insisted that "it’s either victory or the sacking of the coach."
But, Kotoko who have dominated the Soccer Miners in recent times, including a back-to-back victory last season, are looking beyond Sunday to a more important assignment against Camerounian side, Coton Sport, in the playoff of the CAF Confederation Cup competition in two weeks time.
Indeed, Kotoko are burdened to placate the former President by putting the icing on the cake to climax his 80th anniversary celebration, as well as give hope to their fans of a better showing in Africa.
The two sides will be meeting for the 98th time since 1984, including league, cup matches and friendlies as Kotoko chase their 48th against the Miners’ 27 wins, with 26 draws.
To help fill the Baba Yara Stadium tomorrow, Kotoko’s Communications Director, Sarfo Duku, has promised a surprise package for fans who will patronise the big game.