Abdel Rahman Yoouef Yagoub has joined Asante Kotoko
Abdel Rahman Yoouef Yagoub has joined Asante Kotoko
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Hearts, Kotoko in player transfer frenzy

Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, two of Ghana's most storied football clubs, are back on the market, determined to assemble formidable squads for the upcoming season.

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After a season marked by disappointment and a changing of the guard—with FC Samartex 1996 and Nsoatreman FC emerging as Ghana Premier League champions and MTN FA Cup winners, respectively—the traditional giants are on a mission to rebuild and reclaim their positions at the top of Ghana football.

As FC Samartex and Nsoatreman FC prepare for continental football, Hearts and Kotoko are on a mission to revamp their squads, with both teams set to meet next week for the Democracy Cup clash in Accra.

It will be an encounter that will offer a tantalizing glimpse into how the new signings will fit into their respective teams and what the future might hold for these storied clubs.

Kotoko’s roster overhaul comes as a reaction to the loss of several key players such as last season’s top scorer, Steven Mukwala, along with midfielders Serge Eric Zeze and Richmond Lamptey. 

In response, the Porcupine Warriors have made two significant signings from Sudan, Abdoel Rahman Yoouef Yagoub and Esmat Hassabalbagi. Yagoub, a forward from Hay Alwady, is expected to fill the scoring void left by Mukwala, who netted 14 goals last season.

His arrival is expected to bolster Kotoko’s attacking options and potentially restore their goal-scoring prowess.

Hassabalbagi, a left-back from Sudanese powerhouse Al Hilal, joins on a season-long loan and brings with him valuable experience and the endorsement of Sudan’s national team coach, Kwasi Appiah, who also serves on Kotoko’s Interim Management Committee.

Additionally, Kotoko are reportedly close to finalising deals for Emmanuel Antwi of relegated Accra Great Olympics after signing a pre-contract with the midfielder, while Elvis Kyei Baffour is reportedly close to finalising a move to the Porcupine Warriors.

A former Liberty Professionals player is currently a free agent after his contract with Slovenian top-flight side Rogaska expired at the end of last month, while Baffour’s return to Ghana football could offer fresh energy and creativity on the wings to Coach Prosper Narteh Ogum's side.

For Hearts, a narrow escape from relegation last season has put coach Aboubakar Ouattara under significant pressure to rebuild a competitive team.

The departure of influential midfielder Salifu Ibrahim and the possible exit of captain Kofi Agbesima have left gaps that need filling.

The Phobians are on the verge of securing Solomon Agbasi, a promising goalkeeper from Dreams FC, which could provide a much-needed boost to their defensive stability.

Additionally, negotiations are progressing for the acquisition of Michael Awuah Mensah and Asamoah Boateng Afriyie from Nations FC, two players who could bring a new dimension to Hearts' midfield which is a key area of concern and could provide the necessary balance and support for the attack.

Next week’s Democracy Cup match between the traditional rivals will be more than just a friendly encounter.

For both teams, it will serve as a crucial opportunity to test their new signings and lay the groundwork for the upcoming season. It will offer their fans a glimpse into how well each side’s recruits will gel and whether they can rise to the challenge of a new season with renewed vigour to recapture their lost glory in the upcoming season.

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