Kotoko to start season without long-time captain Abdul Ganiyu

Premier League champions Asante Kotoko are expected to start the season without their captain, Ismail Abdul Ganiyu, for the first time since September 2017.

This was after the centre-back terminated his contract with the club for personal reasons ahead of the betPawa Premier League registration deadline.

Some sources say the defensive rock is said unhappy and seeking a new adventure away from the Porcupine Warriors.

The transfer market closed on Monday with Kotoko selling and terminating some contracts of their players who seem to be surplus to requirement and must pave way for new signees ahead of the 2022/23 CAF Champions League.

Players like Fabio Gama, Mudasiru Salifu and Imoro Ibrahim – who were household names in the league last season, have all left elsewhere in Europe and Africa to chase fresh adventures.

However, as the new season approaches, some foreign players and technical handlers are expected to make a huge difference in the 2022/23 season squad list of Kotoko, following the capture of former Burkina Faso national team head coach, Seydou Zerbo and other Cameroonian players.

The Burkinabé, Zerbo, will replace Coach Prosper Narteh Ogum, after the latter also terminated his contract over brouhaha with board and management members of the club on his future.

Cameroonian defender, Kuoalao Thomas Pele’s contract was cancelled in a matter of five days due to persistent injuries; but his fellow Cameroonian shot-stopper, Moise Pouaty, will be in action for Kotoko for the next three years, after capturing his signature on a free transfer.

Also, Ugandan forward Steven Mukwala is expected to impact the team ahead of their domestic and continental campaigns.

Possibly, the good performance of Frank Etouga Mbella, George Mfegue and Fabio Gama, last season has inspired Kotoko to bring in more international players for the new season.

On preparations for the fresh season, Kotoko is playing some series of friendly matches with African giants like Al Hilal Omdurman of Sudan, Simba of Tanzania and one team from the CAF Confederation Cup group which name is yet to be revealed.

Initially, Kotoko were expected to go to Turkey for the pre-season, but visa acquisition failed them which made the club settle on Sudan.

The Asanteman club lost 2-0 to Al Hilal Omdurman in their first competitive pre-season match in Sudan on Tuesday.

The Sudanese champions scored in either half of the game to pin the Ghanaian champions on the day.

Kotoko are expected to take on Kadiogo FC in their opening fixture of the CAF Champions League prelims on September 9 – a tie which could see the Porcupine Warriors’ first match in the betPawa Premier League against Nsotreman postponed.

BY EMMANUEL ASANTE

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