Accra, Feb 14, GNA - Kumasi King Faisal's coach, Francis Oti-Akenteng is already feeling the heat associated with the annual Coca Cola Top Four tourney after his side lost their first game of the competition last Sunday.
Faisal had their undefeated run cut short by debutants, Real Tamale United (RTU) when the "Pride of the North" posted a 1-0 bitter pill down their throat when the two side's crossed swords at the Kumasi Sports Stadium.
The coach had declared an-already won competition after their 2-0 shocking victory over Accra Hearts of Oak in their mid-week match, but Sunday's loss has forced him to eat a humble pie.
He told the GNA Sports that, "the race is very tight and opened. I first thought it was all over but football can be something else and its so unfortunate that we now need to fight extra hard to bring to bear our desire of successfully defending the trophy".
The former Ashantigold coach has thus decided to give his side no rest even though the competition has taking a week's break to enable the Phobians have enough preparation towards their Super Cup duel slated for Aba against the Nigerian champions, Enyimba on Sunday, February 20. The defending champions, who had taking a commanding lead in the competition prior to the RTU game, plunged back to serious training on Monday in their quest to stay in contention for the trophy. "We are beginning training right away to effect the essential corrections before our next game. I noticed we have loads of work to do if we are to retain the trophy as relished".
Not only would the former Black Satellite's coach be hoping to work on his boys apparent complacency and laxity, which took the centre stage during Sunday's defeat, but also hope to find a suitable replacement for their icons, Eric Gawu and Abubarkar Yahuza who have joined the exodus train.
"It is most unfortunate that we can only boast of a first team without a good reserve. It is always a huge headache when one has to lose a player due to an injury; this is because the difficulty in getting the player fit is not as complex as replacing him with a worthy one", he told the GNA Sports.
Like the typical Ghanaian soccer fan, the coach then indulges in the usual football mathematics and bangs his hope in a Hearts fall as the competition heads to a photo finish.
" We know that Lions won't come easy and so we would do our best to stay on top and we believe that Hearts would not be able to squeeze five unanswered goals past RTU to overtake us for the ultimate". Faisal is rooted first on the four-team table with eight points as Hearts but are richer with more goals.