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04.10.2008 Football News

A Must For Kotoko

By George Osei - newtimesonline.com

ANYTHING but a win for Kumasi Asante Kotoko in this afternoon's CAF Confederation Cup Group B tie against Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia, would signal the end of their interests in this years competition.

The Ghanaian champions are level on six points with the other team's in the group with two games to go, and need to win this penultimate encounter in Kumasi to stand in with a chance of making the final next month.

Etoile who edged out Sudanese side EL Merreikh 2-0 in their last game, arrived in Ghana last Thursday in high hopes of repeating the victory they chalked over Kotoko when they met in Tunisia a couple of months back.

A goal in each half by their Nigerian marksman Emeka Okpara secured a 2-0 in Sousse, a defeat which caused some confusion in the Kotoko camp.

They have however ridden the storm very well especially in the home games, and it is this positive Karma they would seek as they go into battle this afternoon.

The Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi has been a good hunting ground for them in recent times, having posted wins over EL Merreikh (l-0) and J S Kabbylie (3-1) in home games played there already.

Fans would hope they maintain that form as they host the Tunisians who are the current African Champions League holders.

Top marksman Eric Bekoe would lead an attack expected to include Emmanuel Osei Kuffour.

Kwabena Yaro, Francis Coffie and Francis Akwaffo, with support from midfield by Nii Adjei, Stephen Oduro, Mark Sekyere and Jordan Opoku.

Coach Bashir Hayford has come under some criticism from the Kotoko faithful for his sides lack of concentration at some crucial stages of their games, and this would be tested to the fore this afternoon.

How he prepares his charges to stay focused for 90 minutes, would determine how they fare in today's game, and also if they are to stand in with a chance of making the final.

The other game in the group is in Algeria where JS Kabylie host EL Merreikh in Tizi Ouzo with the stakes very high for both sides.

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