It’s dicey as Ashgold, Bechem Utd clash

BY: Kwame Larweh
C.K. Akonnor — Ashgold’s Coach
C.K. Akonnor — Ashgold’s Coach

Two of the nation’s biggest clubs, Ashgold and Bechem United clash highlight’s the topliner as the MTN FA Cup Round of 64 fixtures are honoured, with one of these elite sides, set to say goodbye to the competition even at this early stage.

Aware of the risk of such early exit, the two sides expressed their disappointment over the draw but with very little choice, they have to square off at the Len Clay Stadium on Sunday, with each hoping they carry the day in the end.

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Apart from both being former champions -- Ashgold won the cup in the 92/93 season, while Bechem lifted the trophy in 2015/2016 edition after beating Okwawu United 2-1 — the two sides have had contrasting campaigns in the premier league this season.

Ashgold which began this season with a lead on the premiership log, are currently fourth on the league table and Coach Akonnor’s charges will seek to win this duel as a motivating factor in getting back on top of the premiership.

Bechem’s coach Bismarck Kobby Mensah will also aim at victory and more importantly set the path for their revival to climb from the bottom of the league where they are currently seated 11th.

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Away from that clash division One side Accra Young Wise will get the opportunity to avenge the 1-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of premiership club Accra Hearts of Oak a year ago, as the two sides clash again in the Round of 64 of the MTN FA Cup fixtures to be staged today and tomorrow at all centres.

Indeed the Rainbow club dug deep to put one past the stubborn Wise team in their previous encounter and it appears it would be much harder for the Phobians this time around according to Young Wise coach Nassam Abubakar.

The technical handler of the Accra based club told the Daily Graphic in an earlier interview that the team was psyched up for their clash against Hearts and would leave no stone unturned in ensuring victory to advance to the next stage of the competition.

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“Every coach would like to win against Hearts of Oak because they are a big club so we are preparing very well for the match. We have a very young team and it is a very big platform to advertise our players to the whole nation so we are ready for it,” coach Abubakar noted.

He has pinned his hopes on goalkeeper Osei Bonsu,striker Kelvin Obeng, Ernest Osei, Paul Quaye Jnr., Felix Lamptey and Nana Kwame Antwi for Sunday’s encounter. These are charges he believes can kayo Hearts on Sunday.

The Phobians on the other hand have been inconsistent in the Zylofon Cash Ghana Premier League, a goalless draw against dreaded foe WAFA last Thursday goes to attest their inconsistency in the premiership.

However, coach Henry Odartey Wellington’s side may hope to progress to the next stage of the competition with a vintage performance while they make the most of the MTN FA Cup in the shadow of a poor show in the league.

Hearts would like to avoid an embarrassment from the dodgy and tricky Young Wise who are bound to be a banana peel for the rainbow club.

Away from that tie, champions Asante Kotoko would begin their title defence when they visit Bepong Storm Academy on Sunday in a must win encounter for the Porcupine Warriors for progression into the next stage of the competition.

Despite not being impressive in the premiership, Kotoko will seek to make this competition a major issue to appease their disgruntled supporters. Coach Paa Kwesi Fabin will likely fall on new entrants such as defender Emmanuel Agyeman Badu, right-back Samuel Frimpong, defender Richard Senanu, midfielder Samuel Appiah Kubi, striker Ibrahim Osman and Alhaji Isahaku for survival on Sunday.

The new recruits blended so well with the old players last Wednesday as they walloped Elmina Sharks 2-0 in their Week 13 league fixture played at the Baba Yara Stadium and they are set for a another showdown to enable them to cruise comfortably past the visitors to the Round of 32.

In other encounters, Ghana Premier League champions Aduana Stars, who are struggling to make a head way in both their continental and local campaigns, will host Sunyani-based Young Apostles at the Nana Agyemang Badu II Park, Inter Allies FC engage Immigration FC at the Tema Sports Stadium while Liberty Professionals trek to the Nii Amoah Okromansah Park at Amrahia to face Vision FC.

Former winners, Medeama SC will face Oil City FC at the Essipon Stadium in Sekondi as they look for their third triumph in the competition in the last seven years having won it in 2013 and 2015.