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Kotoko, Hearts clash in Kumasi for President Cup

Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak will take to the field at the Baba Yara Stadium tomorrow for honours in the 2019 President’s Cup.

The game, put together by the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA), is to honour the sitting president, Nana Addo-Danquah Akufo Addo.

This will be the fifth time both clubs would face each other in the President’s Cup.

The last four have seen the Porcupine Warriors beat the Phobians on three occasions – 2005, 2016 and 2017 with Hearts winning the 2015 edition.

In the 2017 edition, the match was played twice after the Sunday, July 2 fixture was rained off with the score leveled at 1-1 after 67 minutes.

The replay the following day ended in a stalemate in regulation time before the Porcupine Warriors triumphed 4-1 on penalties.

That win extended Kotoko’s record to five wins, one better than their opponent after winning the first edition in 2003 before a similar feat in 2009, 2013 and 2015.

The Phobians would hope to go at par with their host who has also sworn to extend the lead.

The ‘Reds’ resolve to beat the Rainbow boys, according to the management of the club, will be a major boost for them ahead of their CAF Champions League clash with Étoile Sportive du Sahel next Sunday.

In their last three meetings, the Porcupine lads have run away the victors and ahead of tomorrow’s game, most Fabulous fans are hopeful to record yet another sweet victory over their sworn enemies.

For Hearts, the fixture presents an opportunity to atone for the 4-1 penalty loss in the 2017 edition and also a recent defeat in the just ended Normalisation Committee Special Cup semi-finals.

Coach Grant, who would be playing his second-ever Hearts of Oak-Asante Kotoko game, believes he will end up the victor, although admitting that the opposition starts as favourite.

Kotoko’s coach, Kjetil Zachariassen is having none of that, noting that his side’s involvement in Africa gives them a competitive edge of the Phobians.

Coach Grant will trust his sharp attackers Joseph Esso, Kofi Kordzi, Abdul Umar Manaf, Dominic Eshun and Michelle Sarpong to have a good day while his opposite man, Zachariassen hopes the likes of Habib Mohammed, Patrick Yeboah, Ampem Dacosta, Stephen Ayiku Tetteh, and Wahab Adams would be equal to the task.

All things being equal, prodigal boy, Songne Yacouba will stage a massive return to the fold of the Asanteman Warriors.

Although the tension that usually surrounds these games is low this time around due to activities of the Normalisation Committee and its extra-ordinary congress, both set of players are all too ready to sell a classic game to the fans tomorrow.

Referee Bernard Dumfe will be officiate the game alongside Bolga based Haruna Bawa and Peter Dawsa Assistant Referees. Emmanuel Tampuri will act as the fourth referee.

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