Could Hearts Break the Dominance of Kotoko?
Glory, tradition, bragging rights and points will be at stake as the Accra Sports Stadium hosts one of Ghana’s most awaited football games, with Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko going into battle on top of the Ghana Premier League’s sixth week matches.
The thrilling build-up to the’ Super Clash’ of tomorrow will hit the pitch of fever as captains Fatawu Mohammed and Felix Annan lead their teammates to the pitch to fight for more than just the three points at stake. It will also be a clash for bragging rights, the kind that has defined encounters between the superpowers of Ghana football who have won between them 44 league titles (24 for Kotoko)
The Sunday game will be as tension-filled and intense as previous battles, with both sides expecting victories to revive their pursuit of title after enduring some contrasting fortunes over the last few weeks. Ghana’s football equivalent of America’s Super Bowl for its pride of place and appeal, it comes as little surprise that the Hearts vs. Kotoko clash was set apart for maximum effect from other sixth week fixtures.
On the back of impressive wins over Liberty Professionals and Ebusua Dwarfs respectively last week after suffering back-to-back losses, both Hearts and Kotoko are coming into tomorrow’s game and are therefore bullish about their chances.
The Phobians reversed a goal deficit at Dansoman last Sunday to beat Liberty 2-1 while the Porcupine Warriors needed two late goals to tame Ebusua Dwarfs at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
While clashes between the two traditional giants have tested the form guide from time to time, with Kotoko always playing well and achieving good results in Accra, the Phobians seem to enjoy a more consistent form and are unbeaten in their last three matches. In comparison, Kotoko has lost two of their last three games.
Kotoko have won the last two clashes with Hearts, including a 2-1 victory in the President’s Cup in Kumasi last month, which was the first assignment for Kotoko’s coach Maxwell Konadu on his return to the club.
While Kotoko have dominated cup competitions, the Phobians have had the edge in their last five Premier League encounters, winning twice and losing once, with two draws. Ironically, the Accra stadium tends to favour Konadu’s side who won their last clash via a penalty shootout in the GFA Normalisation Committee Special Competition Tier 1 semi-finals in June last year.
Hearts coach confident
In spite of the recent results between them, Coach Odoom is under no illusion that his charges will be up to the task, and is counting on their resurgence to give them the edge tomorrow for their third win of the season.
“The boys are determined to win this game on Sunday and I believe the performance will be a massive improvement on what we have produced in our last two games against WAFA and Liberty Professionals.
“We cannot be overawed by the occasion and we must make the most of our home advantage with the support of our fans as we go for the win,” a confident Coach Odoom told Hearts’ official Facebook page.
Last Thursday, Kotoko’s PRO, Kennedy Boakye Ansah, predicted a 2-0 win for the club at a press conference in Accra organised by the Ghana Football Association as part of activities to hype up the game and also to educate supporters of both sides to avoid any act of hooliganism.
Tomorrow’s super clash will also be a midfield and attacking battle between Hearts’ Emmanuel Nettey, Benjamin Afutu, Joseph Esso and Kofi Kordzi and Justice Blay, Emmanuel Gyamfi, Nabi Keita and Songne Yacouba of Kotoko.
In other matches today, in-form Aduana Stars will attempt to apply the brakes on league leaders, Berekum Chelsea, in their fierce regional derby at Dormaa-Ahenkro, while Karela United trek to the Techiman Park to play Eleven Wonders
Great Olympics host Inter Allies at the Accra Sports Stadium this afternoon, King Faisal welcome Elmina Sharks to the Baba Yara Stadium, Ashantigold travel to the Akoon Park at Tarkwa to challenge Medeama SC.
On Monday, bottom club Dwarfs will seek their first point of the season at the expense of Dreams FC at the Cape Coast Stadium.