Kotoko Face Dolphins
Dolphins FC of Nigeria will be the next opponents of Kumasi Asante Kotoko in the 1/16 of the CAF Confederations Cup competition.
The Porcupine Warriors, who brushed aside Wikki Tourists also of Nigeria in the 1/32 round of the competition, will face a stiffer opposition from their new opponents who are more experienced on the African terrain.
Though the dates for the fixtures are not known, the first leg will take place in Nigeria while the second leg comes off in Kumasi a fortnight later.
Dolphins are remembered for kicking out Accra Hearts of Oak in the second round of the CAF Champions League in 2005 after winning 5-2 on aggregate.
The Nigerians had thumped Hearts 4-0 in Port Harcourt before losing 1-2 to the Phobians in Accra.
However, Bashiru Hayford, Kotoko's head coach is confident his team will triumph over the Nigerians whom he acknowledged will be a difficult side to beat.
Meanwhile, Coach Hayford has paid a glowing tribute to Emmanuel Osei Kuffour's leadership as the veteran celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday with another fine display for Asante Kotoko.
The former Black Stars captain opened the scoring for Kotoko before turning in an all round solid display as Kotoko reached the third round of the Confederations Cup with a 4-1 win over Wikki Tourists.
Coach Hayford dedicated the victory to Kuffour and said the whole team had played for him.
Kuffour has had a long career mostly with Ghanaian clubs after starting out at Ebusua Dwarfs. He played for Ghana at the 1998, 2000 and 2002 Nations Cup and was one of the stars when Hearts of Oak swept everything on board in the year 2000 including the CAF Champions League, finishing top scorer in the competition with eight goals.
But he says he is still keen to win honours with Asante Kotoko.
“People said we didn't play well against the Nigerians and yet we won very well. I hope it is a sign of good things to come. This is a competition we definitely want to win.”
By Charles Nixon Yeboah