Preview: Kotoko highly motivated to beat Heart in Ghana Premier League derby
The Super Clash is finally here and the Porcupine Warriors are brimming with confidence to conquer Hearts of Oak in the penultimate match of the First Capital Plus League on Sunday at the Baba Yara Stadium to make the 2013/14 season a great one for their teeming supporters.
Kotoko have not played any league match in Kumasi since beating Bechem United 2-1 on April 6.
Their home games against Inter Allies and Wa All Stars were scheduled for Accra and Tamale due to the closure of the Baba Yara Stadium following misconduct by some fans in Kotoko’s 0-1 loss to Heart of Lions on March 26, 2014.
Sunday will be the first time in almost two months that Coach Didi Dramani and his boys will play a league match in Kumasi.
It is against no other side than their bitterest rivals Hearts of Oak.
Like any Super Clash, Sunday’s much awaited duel is expected to be explosive looking at what is at stake.
Kotoko, despite being uncrowned league champions already, are bent on winning the game to complete double win over Hearts having played delightfully to beat them 1-0 in the first round. Hearts are third on the log sheet with 44 points, three points behind the second team Heart of Lions.
They are aiming high to win Sunday’s game to boost their CAF Champions League slot ambition but Kotoko players are not ready to give them any room to achieve their ambition.
“We are well equipped for the game. Our supporters should be rest assured that Kotoko will triumph” said intelligent midfielder Michael Akuffu who scored that memorable winner when the Porcupines beat Hearts 2-1 at the same venue two seasons ago.
Kotoko are going into this battle highly motivated having won their last two competitive games. Last Wednesday Kotoko trekked to Bekwai to beat New Edubiase 2-1 to wrap the league. Following that hard fought win, central defender Abeiku Ainooson warned Hearts of Oak to be watchful since they are coming with full force to repeat the dose on them.
Kotoko last Sunday made clear their intention to triumph in the big showdown when they silenced King Faisal 2-0 in the semi final of the MTN FA Cup in Kumasi courtesy strikers Abdul Aziz and Seidu Bancey who scored the all important goal in Kotoko’s 1-0 win over Hearts in their last meeting in Accra on September 22, 2013. Though the striker has not promised any goal on Sunday, he is hoping to team up effectively with his colleagues to ensure Hearts fall in Kumasi.
The Fabulous Boys have been fruitful in their last two encounters with Hearts in Kumasi. During the 2011/12 Glo Premiership season, Kotoko showed their proverbial fighting spirit to beat their archrivals 2-1. The following season’s encounter ended goalless. The Fabulous Boys won’t lower their guards on Sunday.
Coach Didi Dramani says he is not treating the upcoming game as anything special because he has a rich record of not conceding defeat against Hearts since taking over the Porcupines two seasons ago. He has won one and drawn two out of his three meetings with Hearts. Knowing the great importance that Kotoko faithful attach to this particular game, he has strategized well to secure the three points.
Preparations for the Super Clash have been intensive and Kotoko players are only waiting for Sunday to teach Hearts a bitter lesson. A cursory look at Kotoko’s current set up shows that apart from maybe Rahim Ayew and Osman Bashiru who have not tasted the Super Clash before, virtually all the other players have enough experience about the big game. This obviously put Kotoko in advantageous position to win and strong midfielder Prince Baffoe believes great support from the fans will help make the task easier.
“We want to see a full house on Sunday because that gives us the strength to deliver in such big games” he noted.
The other fixtures for the 29th week are: New Edubiase vrs Wa All Stars, Inter Allies vrs Aduana Stars, Hasaacas vrs Dwarfs, Bechem United vrs Medeama, Berekum Chelsea vrs Amidaus Professionals, Heart of Lions vrs King Faisal, Liberty Professionals vrs Ashgold.