Kotoko lose 1-3 to Nkana in Zambia

BY: George Ernest Asare

Poor marksmanship and lack of concentration in defence cost Kumasi Asante Kotoko the maximum points as they lost 1-3 to  Zambian side, Nkana Football Club  in their CAF Confederation Cup  Group C encounter played at the Nkana Stadium yesterday.

Kotoko, who looked determined to earn a point yesterday, rather conceded two cheap goals in the 25th and 53rd minutes through some defensive mixed-ups.
The goals scored by  Nkana  top striker, Ronald Kampamba,  deflated the energy Kotoko had pumped into their system after restoring parity in the 20th minute through their rastafarian striker  Songne Yacouba in the 20th minute.

Kotoko had conceded the first goal in the 18th minute  through a penalty when the referee adjudged  Abdul Ganiyu’s slide tackle on offensive midfielder Walter Bwalya at the edge of the box as penalty and Freddy Tshimenga, who elected himself for the kick, put the ball beyond the reach of Kotoko goalie Felix Annan to break the deadlock.

This was at a time Kotoko had  matched their opponents with  crisp short passes and interpositional display to force their opponents to draw back to defend on many occasions.

However, they lost focus in defence in the 18th minute when the defenders allowed Bwalya to take control of the ball in their territory and raced deep towards Kotoko goal area.

In an attempt to win back the ball, Ganiyu stretched full limit to clear the ball but his opponent fell in the process, causing the referee to point to the spot which was converted by Tshimenga.

Kotoko, who played a good game, restored parity two minutes later when nimble footed Emmanuel Gyamfi took the ball midway into the half of his opponents and meandered his way through a cluster of defenders.

In the process, the hatchet man  of Nkana, Musa Mohammed, whacked him down and the referee, who was close to the scene, whistled for an infringement and also flashed his card on Mohammed.

 Yacouba converted the kick brilliantly to give coach Charles Kwabla Akonnor and his lieutenants the much- needed  breather and a tonic to fight on, but their determination to return home with, at  least a point, was short-lived as their hopes  were dashed in the 25th minute when poor marksmanship gave the Zambians a cheap goal.

Kotoko continued to probe for the equaliser and came close in the 38th minute but Yacouba, who had an opportunity to score saw his drive pushed to corner, which was wasted.

The second half saw Kotoko making more attempt at goal and came close, but Richard Ocran, Musa Mohammed and goalkeeper Chibonwe thwarted their effort as they also countered , hoping to add to the woes of the Porcupine Warriors.

In the 53rd minute, Nkana increased the tally to three through Kampamba, who sneaked behind his markers to beat Annan with a header.

With three goals in their bag, the host team introduced manly game into the match to put fear into the Kotoko attackers, and  to restore sanity into the game the referee flashed his red card at Ocran, who had earlier been warned with a  yellow card in the 74th minute to give Kotoko an advantage, but their search for goals could not yield any results.