Asante Kotoko will face Zambian side, Nkana FC in a nervy CAF Confederation Cup return leg encounter at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium tomorrow.
The clash is coming exactly a week after losing 3-1 to the visitors in the first leg encounter played in Zambia.
That defeat has plunged the Porcupine Warriors in the abyss of Group C which has Nkana as leaders with six points from three outings and Al Hilal and Zesco, another Zambia opposition in second and third places with four points apiece.
Kotoko are bottom on three points and considering a tough encounter against Zesco away, they find themselves in a ‘win or bust’ situation, as a win in the other game could spell doom for their chances of qualification.
But for Al Hilal draw encounter with Zesco in Zambia, matches in the group had followed a similar pattern with teams winning home matches; leaving visiting teams with no chance.
Kotoko has so far failed to break that pattern. In the same vein they must try to maintain the home invincibility by beating Nkana for the three maximum points to breathe life into their campaign.
But in doing so, C.K Akonnor’s side must aim to correct the lapses detected in their previous games, especially the one against Nkana FC which the team defended poorly.
The task may be even more difficult with the suspension of skipper, Amos Frimpong, whose defensive organization will be missing.
In his absence, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu, Abdul Ganiyu, Habib Mohammed and Augustine Sefa must improve at the back and find a way to deal with the aerial balls to be floated to the area by the tall and physically endowed Nkana forwards.
Their work, however, will amount to nothing if the general defensive discipline of the team is not corrected by Coach Akonnor who like other technical brains conceded the defensive display let the Reds down.
Hitman Sogne Yacouba also marked a return to his goal scoring form when he pulled Kotoko’s equalizer before going down.
Back in front of their home fans, Yacouba must replicate that form as they chase the maximum points.
That will, however, not come easy considering Nkana’s resolve to upset the apple-cart; knowing a point from enemy territory will play big in their favour at the latter stages of the competition.
Knowing how Kotoko would be comfortable at their fortress, Nkana would surely devise a different strategy to contain the Reds which will still be focused on snatching a point from the game.
That is why Coach C.K Akonnor must ensure he presents his very best on the day and remain as discipline as ever if they want to smile home with the points.
BY ANDREW NORTEY