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11.06.2008 Football News

It Won’t Be Easy For Hearts, Kotoko

By Daily Graphic
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League leaders, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, risk tasting their third defeat of the season as guests of demotion-threatened Hasaacas at Essipon today, just as fallen giants, Hearts of Oak, face a too-close-to-call assignment against bogey Tema Youth on the Tema astro-turf.

Astro-turf or not, the Phobians who seem to know the terrain too well need a good result to calm the raging storm hitting the Oak Tree this season, while last but two Tema Youth equally need a desperate win to enhance their survival chances.

After giving new CEO, Vincent Odotei, a fitting welcome present last Sunday with a 2-1 home win over Gamba All Blacks, players of Hearts will seek to silence their critics by overpowering stubborn Tema Youth in their own backyard.

In the first round Tema Youth needed a late equaliser from influential Ekow Benson to force a 1-1 draw in Accra in the early days of Coach Isaac Opeele Boateng with the Tema club.
 
And today another fine opportunity presents itself for Coach Opeele to emphasise why he turned down an enticing offer from Hearts to save the Tema-based club from relegation.

With the Bernard Don Bortey-led Hearts gradually regaining their form, the homesters will have a tough battle on hand in their search for the badly-needed three points.

Until they broke the home invincibility of Hasaacas last season, Kotoko, like most visitors, often found Sekondi to be an uncomfortable Waterloo in the past couple of seasons.
 
That, coupled with their good form as league leaders, make the Porcupine Warriors favourites in this afternoon's encounter, though an upset cannot be ruled out considering the precarious position of the western giants, currently handled by young coach Ben Zola.

At the Dansoman Carl Reindorf Park, in-form Liberty Professionals face a tough assignment against impressive Berekum Arsenal, while fourth-placed Obuasi Ashantigold will not find revamped Zaytuna United an easy opponent, even at their favourite Len Clay Stadium.

After plotting a dramatic 4-3 victory over visiting Liberty Professionals last Sunday, Golden Boy Abdul Razak leads RTU to dare unpredictable King Faisal in a middle-of-the-table clash at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

High-Flying Heart of Lions, led by Edmund Owusu-Ansah and the two-pronged attack of Emmanuel Banahene and Dominic Adiyiah, will be quite a bother to their former trainer, Hans van der Pluym, and his Kessben lads at the Anane Boateng Stadium at Abrankese, near Kumasi, while Gamba All Blacks fight for the maximum points with fellow strugglers, Real Sportive, at Swedru.

Relegation certainty, Accra Great Olympics, will not have victory on a silver platter even against poor away travellers, Wa All Stars, in their duel at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.

Preview by Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo

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