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13.05.2008 Football News

It's Shouts Of Fabu-Fabu And Phoobia

By Our Reporter - newtimesonline.com

FOR the uninitiated, Sunday's Onetouch premiership clash between local giants, Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko could pass as an ordinary contest taking into consideration the abysmal display of the former in the current season.

Without doubt, this season's league will go down into their history books as the worst, having suffered ego-battering defeats in the hands of unsung clubs who otherwise could easily have earned the minnows tag in an encounter against the phobians.

This is reflected in their ninth position on the league table with 23 points against the Porcupine Warriors who lead the pack with 39 points with two outstanding games.

Kotoko's grip on the championship is simply unquestionable, making it reasonable for fans to even predict a cricket score in their favour against an uninspiring phobian side.

On this score, it becomes easier to tip Kotoko to snatch victory on a silver platter but a totally different picture can be seen when one delves deeper into the history books.

Fact is, clashes between the nation's traditional clubs have followed no form guide and that tradition is yet to change.

In their first round clash at the Ohene Djan Stadium, played when Kotoko remained at their predatory best and most Hearts faithful stayed at home, fearing a massacre, the phobians played one of their best games and nearly sent the fabulous lads home empty handed.

And against the backdrop of severe competition among the playing body and pressure on the technical team emanating from the fans on the choice of players for matches, the phobians are aware of the peace and tranwuility a win over Kotoko will bring to their camp.

On their opposite bench, Coach Bashiru Hayford harbours similar intentions to clam the nerves of his critics who turned the heat on him following his first leg confederation cup loss to Dolphins of Nigeria.

Certainly, it will not only be reduced to a battle to revive the agelong rivalry between the two giants but one that will redefine the future of the two coaches.

Coming on at the Baba Yara stadium were the phobians will argue is their spiritual home ground, the Porcupine Warriors may have to throw caution to the wind.

Just as Kotoko plays better against Hearts in Accra, the trend will change this time in favour of the Phobians who will play under less pressure perhaps as a result of their underdog stature.

Unlike Hearts who have tasted a number of embarrassing moments, Kotoko's home invincibility will be at stake.

It remains one of the things they will heavily guard against the Phobian onslaught.

Comparatively Kotoko have in their midst the finest performers in the local game.

Mention can be made of players like the evergreen Emmanuel Osei Kufuor, Jordan Opoku, Harrison Afful, Nii Adjei, Samuel Inkoom and others who are playing so well.

The question, to ask, however, is whether they have the big match temperament. This is where Hearts appear to be ahead as they boast of players like Daniel Coleman, Kwabena Boafo, Hassau Mohammed, Eric Nyarko who have displayed that they have the big hearts to stand tall in such situations.

That notwithstanding, Kotoko remains the favourites in this encounter of wits and nerves.

The Greater Accra-Ashanti rivalry will be replicated at the Ohene Djan stadium where Accra Great Olympics welcomes King Faisal in another Cagey encounter.

Liberty travels to Tema to play Real sportive, All Stars welcome Kessben to Wa, Zaytuna obliges Tema Youth to Dansoman, RTU will play host to the Lions from Kpando, Hasaacas play as guests of Ashgold while Arsenal engages All Blacks a the Berekum Golden City Park.

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