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Vincent Atinga
Vincent Atinga

Medeama poised for Champs League success

Medeama SC will begin their campaign in this year's CAF Champions League when they clash with Nigeria's Remo Stars in an epoch preliminary round encounter at the Cape Coast stadium on Sunday.

The Tarkwa-based side picked the sole ticket to this competition after clinching the betPawa Premier League title for the first time, and they are hoping to replicate their outstanding performance in the league when they make their debut at the continental club competition.

The Board chairman of the club, Dr Toni Aubynn, told the Graphic Sports ahead of the game that both management and the playing body were determined to make a mark for themselves by ensuring they qualified to the next round of the competition.

''The players themselves want to make a name, and of course, as a club we also want to make a name so the management and the board are also determined to make a name. We are all motivated to do that," he disclosed.

With little experience in continental football, the Ghana champions would be fired up by the existing football rivalry between the two countries to secure their first victory in the CAF competition.

Coach Evans Adotey has already expressed his determination to reach the money zone of the competition and believes after beefing up the squad the team is in a prime position to defend the pride of the country.

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Skipper Vincent Atinga, who played an inspirational role leading to their league triumph last season, will be expected to bring his rich experience to bear on their continental journey beginning Sunday.

Recruitment
Since their historic league success, the 'Yellow and Mauve' have bolstered their squad with the recruitment of Zambia international Kudakwashe Mahachi, Kamaradini Mamudu, Osah Bernadinho Tetteh, Emmanuel Cudjoe, Richard Akrofi, Ibrahim Larbi and Benjanim Bature to signify their ambitions for the Confederation Cup and the upcoming domestic season.

They have also engaged in warm-up matches against promoted premier league side Nations FC and Togolese side Asko de Kara to put them in shape for their Champions League debut.

The Tarkwa-based side are not new to continental football. In 2016 they reached the league phase of the CAF Confederation Cup competition but failed to advance to the semi-finals of the competition after being edged out by Algerian side Mouloudia Olympique de Béjaïa who qualified on head-to-head rule despite having the same points as the Ghanaian side.

Two years earlier, Medeama crashed out on the cusp of qualification to the Group stage of the Confederation Cup after losing 5-4 on penalties against AC Leopards at home.

This time, however, Coach Adotey's side have the benefit of experience in continental competitions and enjoying a good run of form going into Sunday's encounter in Cape Coast full of confidence of success in Africa's second tier inter-club competition.

Remo are a relatively young team founded 13 years ago but with three previous appearances in the CAF second tier club competition with their latest participation resulting in a first round exit last season.

This season, the Sagamu-based club has started the Nigeria league on a flying note and after five games they occupy the second spot with nine points same as giants Enyimba who are on the summit but with superior goal difference.

With the Nigerian league in session, and having played three previous times in the competition, Remo appear more active and experienced to scupper any plans by the Ghanaian club.

They will be hoping to rely on the insight of their Ghanaian arrowhead, Delali Akorli, to unlock Medeama.

Difficult game 
Even though coach Daniel Ogunmodede admits he has very little knowledge about Medeama, he told the Nigerian media that the 'Sky Blue Stars' would not take their opponents lightly after dominating Ghana's topflight least season.

His captain, Nduka Junior, and his teammates are expecting to leverage their experience in continental competitions for success.

“We’ve learnt from our last early exit on the continent. We know they’re champions in Ghana but we are also champions in our own right. We will definitely play our best football over two legs,” he said.

Coach Ogunmodede will be counting on his inspirational captain and other trusted players such as Isaac James, Kayode Bankole, Andy Okpe and Alimi Sikiru to give them a good start on Sunday.

Medeama's Zambian star, Mahachi, is already exuding confidence that his new side would put their best foot forward and get off to a winning start on Sunday.

I’m sure everyone who is going to be playing on that day is going to give their best because it’s the first game for the Champions League so we need to win the game. I know we have a good team with good coaches so I’m saying we are going to win this game,” he said.

Coach Adotey will expect his players to maintain the same momentum with which they won the league title and will be counting on old guards such as Joseph Tetteh Zuta, Kwasi Donsu, Theophilus Anoba and Felix Kyei to stop the Nigerians.

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