TWO of the current strugglers in the First Capital Plus Premier League, Accra Great Olympics and Kumasi Asante Kotoko will engage in a showdown at the Accra Sports Stadium in a top week 18 fixture.
Coming on the backdrop of weekend defeats that left their followers shattered, both sides see this afternoon’s clash as a pleasant platform to restore some home hope.
It has been one of the worst title defenses staged by the Porcupine Warriors as they struggle to hold their own against clubs which would have passed as easy opponents if the Asanteman warriors play in their elements.
The height of their porous campaign was the home defeat suffered in the hands of New Edubiase. Upshot of that defeat was the attempt by fans of the club to vent their anger on a section of their playing body.
Three days after, they trek down south to face an ‘AGOSU’ side facing a big fight for survival as their ego was badly dented by their city and fierce rivals, Accra Hearts of Oak over the weekend.
But unlike the fabulous fans, the Olympics supporters are still hopeful of establishing a recent dominance over the Porcupine Warriors to escape from the relegation zone.
That anticipation stems from a 3-0 demolition of Kotoko on their last visit to the capital in the Independence Cup match. It was followed by another spectacular show in the first round league clash in Kumasi that saw Olympics waste opportunities late in the game to obtain a point.
Coach David Duncan who had then taken over the reins of the club criticized his former club for adopting a defensive strategy but latest events suggest their problem was not the tactics employed by Olympics but had to do with his team’s general attitude.
Few months down the line, it appears the Reds are yet to put their house in order and if the situation does not improve, they may suffer a second defeat in a row.
Although Kotoko still look stronger on paper as a result of Olympics fallibility at the back and attack, they could cause a surprise similar to what happened in the Independence Day cup.
Why Ahmed Toure started from the bench against New Edubiase over the weekend is still a mystery. Why Jordan Opoku and Michael Akuffo stayed out of the team for veteran Stephen Oduro is also baffling.
Interestingly, all the big signings of Kotoko last season are suddenly non-performing. This has created several impressions about happenings in the team’s camp.
Until answers to some of those issues are addressed, Kotoko could be punished by a hungry Olympics side that would see Godwin Attram return alongside Richard Kingson, Dan Quaye, Ofoi Ofotsu, Francis Okai and Daniel Boateng.
At the Len Clay Stadium in Obuasi, New Edubiase will engage Liberty Professionals in a game the host would be expected to prove their feat in Kumasi was no fluke.
Accra Hearts of Oak will trek upwards to Wa where they play as guests of Wa All Stars. All Stars approached the first leg full of confidence but were beaten and finds the clash as a perfect opportunity to seek revenge.
Ashantigold’s lead will face a severe test at Tema where they play Inter-Allies in a dicey encounter just as BA United could upset WAFA at the Sunyani Coronation Park.
At the Essipun Stadium, Hasaacas will welcome Berekum Chelsea; Aduana will host Medeama SC with Bechem storming the Kpando den with a clash with Heart of Lions.
By Andrew Nortey