Can Kotoko survive Sharks attack in Nairobi?
Coach Charles Akonnor has challenged his charges to guard against complacency as they encounter Kariobangi Sharks of Kenya in the CAF Confederation Cup tomorrow.
Akonnor’s tactical acumen would be heavily relied in his maiden continental campaign as his team launches another bid to make a huge impact in continental football after years of poor showing by the two-time African champions.
A good result in tomorrow’s first leg clash at the Moi International Stadium at Kaserani, Nairobi, will enhance the Porcupine Warriors’ chances of qualifying for the next stage of the competition after the return leg match at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on December 22.
A tense atmosphere awaits the Ghanaians in Nairobi where Sharks are also plotting to make life uncomfortable for Kotoko, who qualified to this stage on a silver platter after the Camerounian Football Association failed to submit their representative for the preliminary stage of the competition, handing the Oseikrom lads a walkover.
The walkover and the absence of organised football in Ghana for the last six months have denied Kotoko the needed competitive test to put them in the best possible shape, with Coach Akonnor’s side relying on friendly games against Inter Allies and the Black Meteors as the only means to test his side’s combat readiness.
Nonetheless, Kotoko have shown remarkable progress in recent friendlies by posting a 3-0 victory over Inter Allies and also recording a similar scoreline against the national Under-23 side last Sunday.
After taking over the Porcupine Warriors in October, Akonnor faces his first test against Sharks, a match Kotoko’s trainer hopes to go through unscathed.
There is no doubt a lot of pressure on Akonnor to deliver results to impress his employers and the Kotoko faithful who have high expectation of the club.
After his appointment, management of the club tasked Akonnor to do well in Africa and he leads the team against Sharks under the weight of expectation, in addition to worries about the fitness of his lead striker, Songne Yacouba.
Apart from injury concerns over Yacouba, Akonnor, he has a full strength team led by his experienced captain, Amos Frimpong, Felix Annan, Daniel Nii Adjei, Jordan Opoku, Emmanuel Gyamfi, and Daniel Darkwah are expected to play a key role in ensuring victory for the Ghanaian side.
source: Graphic Online