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30.01.2007 Football News

After Ashgold’s Away Triumph In Malabo • Kotoko’s Turn At

By Daily Graphic
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A day short of a week after Ashantigold's triumphant exiting of Malabo, it will be Asante Kotoko's turn to unfurl Ghana's flag in a big way on the Champions League terrain.

The Porcupine Warriors face Port Authority of The Gambia in a match that must, of necessity, define how far the club has succeeded in putting its recent reverses behind it on the local front.

The Porcupine Warriors will attempt to atone for the huge disappointment they have caused their fans after qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in their continental history.

In the absence of warriors like Aziz Ansah, Kenneth Ababio and Michael Asante who were axed two weeks before the clash, the hierachy of Kumasi Asante Kotoko will be seeking to justify their decision to replace them with youthful limbs like Isaac Vorsah and Ahmed Nyame.

Ashgold last Sunday stunned a sparse home crowd at Stade de Malabo when they posted a rare 1-0 victory over Reinacimiento of Equitorial Guinea.

Speaking to the Graphic Sports from Malabo a day after the match, Mr Cudjoe Fianoo, the CEO of Ashantigold, said the flight arranged from Malabo to Lome, Togo, yesterday had to be abandoned because the officials disccovered to their dismay that it was a cargo flight.

According to Mr Fianoo, the team made frantic efforts to secure an alternative flight yesterday without success and were now compelled to make the journey back home through Lome on Wednesday.

This means Ashgold will not be available for Wednesday's Onetouch Premiership fixtures as the league resumes at all centres after a week's break.

Last Sunday's game was, perhaps, a perfect return of the miners to continental championship reckoning since losing on penalties to Raja Cassablanca in Cassablanca some nine years ago.

They defied overwhelming odds to subdue a well-motivated Renaciemento side. Renaciemento, one of the most resourceful sides in Africa, is a successful blend of some of the leading talents in Africa, and moments before the game, had contracted Coach Quatarra, formerly of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, obviously due to his expert knowledge of the Ghanaian terrain.

But the Ghanaian side who rode on a massive support whipped up by Ghana's Ambassador to Equitorial Guinea, H. E. R. O. Solomon, who mobilised almost the entire Ghanaian community in this tiny African island, proved resilient to the challenges of the homesters.

And after wasting countless chances, including a penalty, when the homesters' goalkeeper, Sylvester Moyongo, read well the kick by Opoku Agyemang, Ashantigold were finally rewarded with a 55th minute goal by a former Starlets, Jonathan Quartey.

Coach David Duncan who crafted the victory was not amused with the result and told the Graphic Sports it was part of his team's psyche to win their matches irrespective of the terrain.

He said rather than looking forward to the return leg, their Onetouch Premier League match against King Faisal at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium was his only priority at the moment.

The outspoken Head Coach, though optimistic about qualification to the Champions League, revealed that the feat was part of a larger dream to capture Africa this year.

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