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Kotoko, Ashgold to light up Baba Yara Stadium

BY: Peter Sarbah
Songne Yacouba — Kotoko
Songne Yacouba — Kotoko

The Baba Yara Stadium will witness yet another crunch duel between regional rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko and AshantiGold, for the J.A. Kufuor Cup on Sunday.

It will not be the first time these two rivals are battling in any competition but what is intriguing about this fixture is the fact that the two teams will be meeting for the third time after the GFA-organised football activities were suspended in June last year.

The two previous encounters between them ended in a 3-2 stalemate apiece in Kumasi and Obuasi, respectively.

Another interesting thing which will come into play in this game could be the manner in which Coach Charles Akonnor was sacked by the 'Miners' before he switched camp to the Porcupine Warriors.

Based on this, Coach Akonnor will want to prove a point to show his former employers that they made a big mistake by letting him go, while he could also use the game as a test match ahead of their CAF Confederation Cup game against Camerounian side, Coton Sport, on January 18.

Kotoko remain the only active club on the local scene at the moment, having dispatched Kariobangi Sharks 2-1 last month to progress to the playoff, making them slight favourites in this encounter.

Beyond that, the Porcupine Warriors have demonstrated their ability to contain AshGold at the Baba Yara Stadium and the last time they visited the Garden City in April last year, Ashgold were bruised 2-0.

Unlike Kotoko, AshGold have not been active and this is likely to affect them as rustiness could set in from their long stay away from serious competition.

But a determined AshGold have vowed to break the jinx of losing to Kotoko at the Baba Yara Stadium.

The absence of Ashgold’s Danish coach, John Christiansen, may create a void on the club’s bench, but the players will be motivated by the promise of slim phones by the president of the club, Dr Kwaku Frimpong, in case they win.

Coach Akonnor will rely on his trusted generals such as skipper, Amos Frimpong, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu, Michael Senanu, Songne Yacouba, Naby Keita, Daniel Nii Adjei, Jordan Opoku, Emmanuel Gyamfi and Augustine Sefa, among others, to ensure a befitting victory for their former board chairman, President J.A. Kufuor, in whose honour the game is being played to commemorate his 80th birthday.

Ashgold’s Serbian coach, Svetislav Tanasijevic, will also parade the likes of Tijani Joshua, Emmanuel Nti, Eric Donkor, Amos Addai, Saddick Adams, Shafiu Mumuni, Appiah McCarthy and others to shock Kotoko.

For Saddick Adams, this will be a fine opportunity to punish Kotoko after he was offloaded last season for non-performance.