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27.05.2004 Football News

"Let the goals flow, boys"

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Accra, May 27, GNA - "Let the goals flow, boys" seem to be the clarion call of the about 19 million Ghanaian crazy soccer fans, connoisseurs, as well as soccer analysts to all the country's four representatives in this year's Confederation of African Football (CAF) clubs competition billed for this weekend.

Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Accra Hearts of Oak, King Faisal and Liberty Professionals are participating in the CAF Champions League and the Confederation Cup respectively and they will all need nothing below convincing victories pregnant with goals to see them through the next stage of the competition.

Whilst the results of the Phobians and the "Porcupine Warriors" will determine their fate in their quest to play in the lucrative money zone, Faisal and Liberty playing in the Confederation Cup fine themselves in the same pot as they lock horns with Santos of South Africa and Stade du Tenusien of Tunisia.

Knowing the stakes involved, none needs to be told that the goals must flow on Friday and Sunday in order to keep the seemingly sudden "renaissance" of the country's global leather on track.

Obviously, many soccer fans including the clubs have remained cautious but yet optimistic of their chances, whilst others have written them off for glaring reasons and the "against factor".

The stadiums in Tunis and Sousse will tomorrow present Liberty and Hearts the opportunity to kick-start the weekend on a bright note when the former play Stade with the latter sorting things out with stubborn Etoile de Sahel who lost narrowly in Accra.

I couldn't have agreed more with Hearts Coach, Ernst Middendorp's insistence that "you won't rule us out if you knew our away record". This is because the Phobians proved beyond doubt of their away capabilities when they sold out impressive away games against Stade du Malien and AS Aviacao in their crucial encounters.

But playing in an unfamiliar North African soil, it will need more than optimism to carry the team through to the next stage judging from the sort of opposition Sahel presented here in Accra.

It is however believed that knowing Middendorp and his emphasis on achieving results rather than beautiful football and his ability to withstand pressure by loading his midfield and defence, qualification will not be beyond the team provided they approach the match with the right psychological frame of mind.

With experienced players like Osei Kuffour, Amankwaa Mireku, Adjah Tetteh, Dan Quaye and the rest who know the terrain so well, coupled with the work rate of "wonder kid" Louis Agyemang, Francis Bossman and Eric Nyarko supporting, there should not be enough problems for the 2000 champions.

Liberty who seemed to have recovered from their 3-0 humiliating results to Hearts last Sunday, need to force a draw to turn the pendulum in their favour to secure a ticket to the next stage.

With the return of what Silas Tetteh described as the team's "spirit and confidence" and the fact that skipper Mustapha Essuman who missed the first encounter and injured Agyemang Hanson back to the team, Ghanaians can smile as well.

The "scientific soccer" lads will just need more than the confidence they exhibited before departing on last Tuesday.

In far away South Africa, Alhaji Grusah's King Faisal have what it takes to pick a refreshing results if their 2-0 win over RTU in the latter's daring Bolgatanga Park last Sunday is anything to go by. The scoring form which eluded them in the first leg with near misses hoisting its head again, the dreadful Abubakar Yahuza's led team must ensure victory at the expense of the homesters who forced a drawn game in Kumasi a fortnight ago.

In the Garden City, Kotoko are billed for a crunchy game with USMA who won 2-0 in the first leg in Algeria.

Kotoko will be missing the services of four of their influential players but can however rely on an array of hope with the inclusion of Aziz Ansah, Charles Taylor and Michael Asante poised to prove their worth.

Knowing the capabilities of the "dribbling wizard", the commitment and seriousness that Aziz attaches to his play, plus the famous fighting spirit of the Porcupine Warriors, they can be relied upon to repeat their impressive outing against Zamalek as they were noted of doing in the early 80s.

Yes, the clarion cry is "let the goals flow boys, and go for the kill" to make the nation proud.

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