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25.05.2004 Football News

Top Four coaches remain focussed

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Accra, May 25, GNA - The four coaches of Ghana's representatives in this year's Confederation of African Football (CAF) competitions are buoyant about the chances of their respective teams when they swing into action this weekend.

Three teams of the four coaches recorded important victories at the weekend in this year's Novelty League whilst one became the vanquished side with a humiliating loss.

However, Liberty Professionals Silas Tetteh, Accra Hearts of Oak's Ernst Middendorp, Asante Kotoko's Hans Dieter Schmidt and Sanzio Bharner from the camp of Alhaji Gruzah's King Faisal are optimistic about their chances against their respective opponents.

Coach Middendorp who leads Hearts to Sousse, enroute Milan, Italy told the GNA Sports, that "if you knew our away records and saw as playing in Mali and Angola, then you won't write us off". The coach who saw his side record a single goal against Etoile Du Sahel in the first encounter played in Accra added that, "We stand an equal opportunity of winning away, we need a goal and our focus will be on qualifying to the money zone".

The German was convinced that the team's 3-0 brushing of Liberty on Sunday is enough evidence on what to expect in their crunch match play in the unfavourable North African's soil on Friday.

Coach Schmidt told the GNA Sports that "the story will be different here, there will be a level playing field for both sides and we will surely come out the victors".

The confident coach, though worried about the expected absence of some key players in his set up said, "the return of Aziz Ansah, Charles Taylor and Michael Asante is a moral booster and we will capitalize on it".

"It will be a different ball game on Sunday. There will be no unfamiliar Astroturf pitch and we have done our homework well to shock USMA".

Kotoko who lost the first leg tie 2-0, will enter Sunday's game without skipper Joseph Hendrich, Kwaku Essein, Daniel Yeboah and Kwame Adjabga all serving bans.

Coach Tetteh seemed to have recovered from his 3-0 bashing from the Phobians and says, "the team spirit is back, the players are more determined and with the mistakes of Sunday corrected, we are ready for Stade du Tunisien come Friday".

The deputy national coach said his team was poised and motivated to shock their opponents, whilst explaining that "We will go with a mass attacking, mass defending and suspension of tiredness strategy in order to make the country proud".

He told the GNA Sports that the team was picking up fast on the supposed correction's exercise and indications are that they will have become a different side by Friday.

King Faisal's Bharner on his part also said, "We have an equal chance of qualifying and I promise the game plan will vary on Sunday, and I see the pendulum tilting in favour of us in South Africa".

The coach was convinced that converting chances would not be a problem as "we have sharpened our attacking system and have the possibility to score as Santos did against us in Kumasi ".

Apart from Kotoko who will be playing at home, the three others will honour their matches away. Liberty and Hearts will leave for Tunisia tonight whilst Faisal will leave on Wednesday.

The two Accra clubs who recorded slim margins in their first respective encounters are billed to play on Friday with the Garden City clubs walking into action on Sunday. 25 May 04

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