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15.05.2004 Football News

Hearts, Kotoko In Continental Duel

By Kwasi Amo-Mensah

Another moment has come for Ghanaian clubs to continue their journey towards a continental trophy. By showing Etoile Du Sahel the exit, it would mean the Phobian defence of a solid record of loosing to no side from the Magreb since the year 2000. Kotoko who face USMA of Algeria would have to end the game in a way that would make the second leg a mere formality.

The task ahead of Hearts of Oak is huge, playing against no other side than Etoile. The last time the Phobians played a side from the Magreb was early 2001, against Zamalek, winning 2:0 to lift lift the Africa Super Cup after their continental success at the expense of Esperance of Zamalek. This time it is a challenge against neither Esperance nor Zamalek but Etoile who would be in a match of their lives to avoid in Accra.

All eyes would be on coach Ernst Middendorp to throw in his technical strategies to give massive win for Hearts. Middendorp factor is a big boost anyway though his recent test matches have not been something to write home about. Be that as it may, it beholds on Emmanuel Osei Kufuor, Benard Don Bortey, Louis Agyemang to produce nothing but goals for Hearts. If the attacking duo of Morgan and Kufuor should find scoring boots and midfield support from Adjah Tetteh and Francis Bossman becomes a success, the Tunisians would really feel the heat of the Oak tree and would go home with plenty of goals in their basket. One other thing we expect is cautious defensive play from Dan Quaye Kwabena Boafo, Amankwaah Mireku and co.

Although USMA are on record for scoring the highest number goals in this year`s championship, book-makers would not write off Kotoko in this encounter. The Porcupine Warroius have a historical pride of secumbing the might of north African soccer. The last time Kotoko played a side from the north was 2002 and it was against no other club than WAC of Morocco who sent tears down the cheecks of Ghanaian soccer fans, taking away the African Clubs Cup Winners Cup. USMA are therefore in trouble as the Porcupine Warrous have a hidden revenge to met out on any side from the region be they WAC, USMA etc. However, USMA would give Asante Kotoko a good run for their money but trust the Porcupine Warrious to clinch a convincing victory away from home though without Charles Charles Taylor, Aziz Ansah and Michael Osei.

With Frank Osei and Shilla Alhasaan leading the onslought, goals would be assured if coach Hans Deiter Schmidt should succeed in combining individual talents into team work with technical support from Malik Jabir. Kotoko are less likely to conceed goals with a potent defensive pair of Dan Yeboah/Joseph Hendricks and Issah Ahmed.

We wish Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak all the best as well as Loberty Professionals and King Faisal in their respective continental duels.

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