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18.11.2008 Football News

League Rolls Off Sunday Amid Great Expectations

League Rolls Off Sunday Amid Great Expectations

New Asante Kotoko coach, Maurice Cooreman, begins his six-month probation with the 'Red Devils' on Sunday at the start of this season's Onetouch Premier League with a date with city rivals King Faisal, as 14 other clubs go under the starter's.

The 64-year-old Belgian, credited with helping Enyimba FC of Nigeria to win the CAF Champions League back-to-back, has a daunting task in aiding Kotoko to at least retain the league title and qualify for the group stage of the next Champions League.

And King Faisal hold the measuring rod in helping the vociferous Kotoko fans in assessing how far the new coach can go.

Kotoko's biggest signing, Agyeman Badu, formerly of Berekum Arsenal, remains the team's fearsome arsenal in the absence of prodigy Eric Bekoe, and with the likes of Jordan Opoku, Kwabena Yaro and Godfred Yeboah, coach Cooreman will be shooting himself in the foot if he falters.

But it is when the stakes are high that Faisal, known for producing stars from obscurity, perform wonders. Alhaji Abdul Karim Grunzah's team may not boast the same high-profile names as Kotoko but in Sumaila Rashid, goalkeeper Osei Boateng and Awudu Nafiu, among others, Faisal have a heart that can easily derail the fortunes of any club.

The pre-match talk and the usual 'loud mouth' of Grunzah, founder of Faisal, coupled with a charged atmosphere will only be a prototype of what coach Cooremen should expect in the Ghanaian league.

Most Valuable Player, Dan Yeboah, formerly of Liberty Professionals, leads Kpando Heart of Lions in an arduous task of breaking the home invincibility of Arsenal.

As one of Ghana's representatives in Africa this year, Lions are counting on Yeboah's experience to add some bite to the midfield.

Three new clubs that gained promotion, Sporting Mirren, Bechem Chelsea and Eleven Wise, could undergo initiation rites with an expected baptism of fire at the hands of Accra Hearts of Oak, Liberty Professionals and Kessben F/C.

Mirren host Hearts at the El Wak Stadium, Chelsea play Liberty at the Ohene Djan Stadium while Kessben welcome Wise at Abrankese.

Coach Isaac 'Opeele' Boateng, who guided Tema Youth to beat All Blacks in an off-season friendly, clashes with the same side at the Robert Mensah Stadium in Cape Coast while Hasaacas play All Stars at Sekondi.

RTU trek to Obuasi as guests of Herbert Mensah's Ashgold as the miners attempt to chart a new course for the club.

Preview by Daniel Kenu