Kotoko to vent spleen on Karela

Kumasi Asante Kotoko’s experience and the youthful exuberance of newly promoted Premier League side, Karela United will come to play on the big stage offered them in the finals of the Normalisation Committee (NC) Tier 1 competition at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium tomorrow.

As a traditional giant and one of the oldest club sides in Ghana, the Porcupine Warriors have become familiar with such high profile encounters and will be composed against the youthful, raw and naïve Karela side that has displayed the character to perform against the established clubs.

Diawisie Taylor – Karela United

For the new entrants, the stakes represents the biggest in their history and just as they showed quality temperament against Hearts of Oak at the round-robin stage of the competition, they are also expected to repeat that trait against the Porcupine Warriors.

What has, however, plunged their followers into doubt was the decision by management to opt for the Baba Yara Stadium venue which gives some degree of advantage to Kotoko who happens to be occupants of the facility.

But having performed creditably in both home away games, it appears Karela’s decision goes beyond the perceived financial gains, knowing and assured of the quality and ability of the playing staff to live up to expectation against the Asanteman Warriors.

In Diawise Taylor, Emmanuel Baffour Osei, Patrick Yeboah, Darlington Gyanfosu Appiah and Godfred Yeboah Agyemang, Karela boast a formidable team that is aiming at staking a claim in Ghana football.

They are also motivated by the poor showing of Kotoko in their last two games against Hearts of Oak and Ashgold in the semi finals of the two competitions.

Although they escaped narrowly with a shoot-out victory over Hearts, they paid dearly with a 3-1 defeat to Ashgold, putting them in a position to improve or face another disappointment.

But being the final bridge separating Kotoko and their return to the top of Africa club competitions, they will bounce back strongly to beat Karela to lift the trophy and book their CAF Champions League ticket.

In their last two matches, Kotoko’s Coach, C.K Akonnor has deployed a defensive strategy to withstand the attacking threats of their opponents.

That strategy has seen their right lateral defender; Amos Frimpong drafted to defensive midfield and has impacted positively on the team defensively but contributed less in the attacking sense.

Some of the big names in the Kotoko squad have also failed to perform in recent times. In the absence of Felix Annan in post, Danlad Ibrahim has deputized well but his movement has been suspicious.

At the heart of their defense, Wahab Adams and Abdul Ganiu have come very good.

The midfield of Kwame Boahen, Kwame Bonsu, Emmanuel Gyamfi and Stephen Nyarko have been very ordinary and would have a tougher challenge coming up against the young and athletic Karela midfielders of Diwasie Taylor, Abdulai Nurudeen and Keyekeh Emmanuel.

Naby Keita and Abdul Safiu have failed to strike fear into opponents in the absence of Songne Yacouba who has become injury prone.

All of this has conspired to affect the performance of Kotoko at the crucial stages of the competition, leaving Akonnor with the tough task of effecting changes in the team.

Karela caused the biggest upset in the competition with an unexpected win over Ashgold in Obuasi and would be expected to sustain that performance; if they do, they will be a handful for Kotoko who must hope the likes of Emmanuel Gyamfi and Abdul Safiu get a good day to snatch victory in their favour.


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