Sports

Kotoko must scale Zesco hurdle

Kumasi Asante Kotoko will be in action in Ndola, Zambia tomorrow in a CAF Confederation Cup final group match against Zesco United.

The Ghanaians blew a chance to seal qualification last week when they laboured to come from behind to play a 1-1 draw with group leaders Al Hilal from Sudan in Kumasi.

Against the bottom placed Zesco United, the Porcupine Warriors find themselves in a ‘win or bust’ situation as their progress is hinged on the outcome of this game.

With seven points in third position, a win for Kotoko will take them to 10 points, a point and two ahead of the current first and second position occupants before playing their game.

In that situation, only a win can save Nkana United and Al Hilal in the case Kotoko is able to break the home invincibility displayed by clubs so far in the competition.

However, having lost the first leg 2-1 to Kotoko at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Zesco will want to avoid a second defeat to the Ghanaians and would hope to end the campaign on an impressive note despite their position on the log.

Among all four clubs, Zesco remain the only side with no chance of qualification but are still motivated to restore the punctured pride of the club and its supporters.

In Ghana, they showed glimpses of a team that can upset the apple-cart and it is one area the Asanteman Reds would have to look at.

After going down 2-0, Zesco United fought back in the second half and managed to pull a goal back and mounted a sustained pressure on the Porcupine Warriors who were saved by the last minute whistle.

At home and at their clinical best, Kotoko would face a stern test as the physically endowed Zambians attempt to use their physicality to bully their way through in the final leg qualifier.

Kotoko face the danger of being exposed at the back as they are likely to carry the game to their host in search of a goal to secure the three points.

But of a greater concern for Kotoko is the absence of their top marksman, Songne Yacouba who received a caution in the game against Al Hilal.

In a game of this nature, Kotoko would surely feel his absence considering the strength of the Zambians, but Emmanuel Gyamfi’s swiftness on the ball plus the versatile Omar Bashiru, Martin Antwi and Kwame Bonsu in midfield could compliment what they will miss with Yacouba’s absence.

At the rear, Kotoko must also be cautious in their approach and ensure the elementary mistakes are cut out if they hope to qualify to the quarter final stages of the competition.

BY ANDREW NORTEY

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