Accra, April 7, GNA - For the first time in the history of Kumasi King Faisal and Dansoman-based Liberty Professionals, the two sides are going to make their deputes at the Confederation of Africa (CAF) organised tournaments to confirm the recent status they have attained on the local scene.
Both clubs in recent years have attained the status of being among the best four in the country, considering their performances in the 2003 National Premier league and the 2004 Coca Cola Top Four Tournament. Whilst Liberty Professionals once qualified for the CAF Cup in 2002 but failed to participate due to lack of funds, Alhaji Grunsah's Faisal gained their African ticket after the 2003 league and took a bold step to take a shot at the competition.
From all indications, both sides are defying their financial predicaments to make an attempt at the competition based on the hope that they would advance to the mini league stages in order to pluck back their investments. It is based on these factors that the new comers are not leaving any stone unturned to achieve their desired targets, hence the level of preparations put up so far by the two clubs.
King Faisal by their performance in last years premier league as well as winning the top trophy of the Coca Cola Top Four Tournament can be described as a force to reckon with even though this is their first attempt of getting involved in the competition in the continent.
This is because they have proven to all that that they are no respecter of any side, having beating giants on the local scene like Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak who have over the past years made significant impact on the continental level and dominated all competitions.
Aside this, the club has in its possession, tried and tested players who have had a lot of international exposure. The likes of Hamza Mohammed, Godwin Ablordey and Kwabena Boating have featured prominently for the Black Stars on several occasions as well as the continental competitions where Mohammed and Ablordey played key roles in the 2002 campaign for Kotoko in the Cup Winners Cup, with Boateng being part of the success story of Obuasi Goldfieds in 1997.
The safe hands of Suraju Mohammed have also had some international exposure with Stade d' Malien of Mali in 2002 whilst Eric Gawu, Prince Antwi, Abubakri Yahuza, Abass Inusah, Habib Mohamed, Shilla Illiasu have also had a taste of international soccer at the junior level where they featured for the national Under-21 and 23 teams.
The Faisal boys have also made case for themselves as the fittest local side in Ghana. All these factors seems to go in favour of the Kumasi boys to secure a comfortable result in Zimbabwe against Power Dynamos who until 2003 were the dominant force in the Zimbabwean league.
The Zimbabweans also have a cream of quality players who have played for their national team at the just ended Nations Cup in Tunisia, hence a tough duel awaits the Ghanaians. In addition to that, Dynamos defeated Savana Stars of Mauritius on 3-0 aggregate before reaching this stage and this achievement therefore also gives credence to the fact they are no mean side. Dynamos striking partnership of J. Motola, E. Mufema and N. Maroto is a potent force to cause havoc at any time whilst keeper Tanyanyiwa, defenders Gwata, Madziva Togara and Maringwa are capable of putting the breaks on any attack. However a defensive set up of Faisal made up Habib, Yahaya, Iddrisu, Inusah and Illiasu have the ability to stand against any threat from them. With in form Yahuza, Gawu and slippery Ben Wilson upfront, there are no doubts that the defensive barriers of Dynamos could be broken easily on a good day.
The absence of Kojo Poku in the attacking line up of the Ghanaians, together with Hans Dieter Schmidt on the technical bench is definitely a sort of worry to them but so far as football remains the art of teamwork trust the Faisal boys to triumph if they put their acts together. It is in this vein that the replacement of the German coach with experienced Herbert Addo is a step in the right direction taking into consideration his track record in such competitions.
Liberty might not seem to have the kind of arsenals in their possession as their fellow novices but what the Dansoman boys will rely on as their strength is their scientific approach to the game.
The team is going into the battle with a bunch of youthful, talented but inexperienced lads who are making their first attempt at securing continental honours.
To many soccer analysts, the opportunity is rather aimed at marketing their players, which has been their motive for the past years but the officials of the club have denied this fact and have made it clear that they are out for real business.
Expectations could have been high for them if the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Ablade Morgan, Alfred Nii Larbi, Cudjoe Addo and William Tierro who have of late joined other teams were still part of the squad.
However, the present crop of players though can be underrated on their first appearance as being novices they can definitely be a potent to contend with and any team that underrates them does so at its own the peril. The have in their midst the likes of Tuaha Khamix Mohammed, Micheal Helegbe, David Boateng, Osei Akoto, Emmanuel Frimpong, Hanson Agyeman, Jonathan Quartey who can be relied on chalk a surprise should they get their acts together on a good day.
These youngsters have proven that they are for the future and they see the competition as an opportunity to showcase their talents as well as prove that they have matured over the years as they battle Petro Huambo in Luanda at the weekend.
Information gathered by the GNA Sports from their camp reveals that the skipper Essuman Mustapha led boys are not in Angola only to play delightful football but to cause a stir.
Taking technical instructions from Silas Tetteh who has stayed put with the team since they joined the premiership, as well as having some dealings with the national team, one expects nothing but an excellent technical guidance to spur the team onto victory.
The Angolans, on the other hand according to our information, though cannot be compared with Petro Athletico or A.S Aviacao, who are giants of Angolan soccer, they are one of the emerging forces to be watched Judging from this, one could easily say that they might be a side hungry for success as their counterparts, hence the Ghanaians' need to be extra cautious in order not to concede to any humiliation away from home.
If the two debutant clubs are able to display half of the stuffs they put on the local scene in their respective matches, then Ghanaians will have no cause to worry in the first leg encounters which would make the second leg matches at their home grounds mere formalities.