06.05.2005 Football News

Faisal hope to gain from Arrows' woes

By Raymond Yeboah
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RED Arrows opponents in the CAF Confederations Cup, King Faisal of Ghana say they expect to profit from the troubles in the Zambian champions' camp when the two sides meet at Nkoloma stadium tomorrow.

Speaking on arrival in Lusaka yesterday, coach of the Ghanaian side Francis Oti-Akenteng said the recent changes on the Arrows technical bench would work to the advantage of his team.

He said it appeared that Arrows players may not yet have adapted to the coaching style of Colonel Brightwell Banda who has not won a game since he replaced Matthew Phiri a few weeks ago.

The Ghanians, comprising mostly under-23 players that featured in the Anthens Olympics, also have two senior internationals in Yahuza Abubakari and Erick Gawu.

The 22-member team, which includes 18 players and five officials, arrived aboard a Kenyan Airways flight at 09:35 hours and are booked at Lusaka's Cresta Golfview Hotel.

Faisal coach Francis Oti-Akenteng refused to disclose the names of his team for fear of giving away too much information to their opponents.

Oti-Akenteng, however, predicated a tough game against Arrows who dropped out of the Champions League two weeks ago via a 6-1 thrashing by Nigeria's Enyimba, saying his side would not take chances going by Enyimba's record.

“No one points to his father's village with his left finger. It's not going to be an easy match,” he said.

But Arrows chairman Steve Chilima said although his team was re-organising, morale in camp was high and players were looking forward to the game.

Chilima said his team had gotten past the embarrassing defeat to Enyimba and that although Arrows were reorganising the changes should not hurt their chances.

He said reorganising the team would take some time because the transfer window was currently closed and that all departments that needed to be looked into would be affected.

“Although we are still undergoing re-organisation it won't affect our game plan for the match. The re-organisation process should actually motivate the players to put in their best,” he said.

Oti-Akenkeng, who has only coached the team in the last six months, said he was familiar with Zambian football having come as Ghana's under-23 assistant coach to Marino Bareto last year.

That game ended in a 0-0 draw at Independence stadium but Zambia lost 2-0 in Ghana where they needed only a draw to qualify to the Athens Olympics.

He said Zambian football was highly rated in Africa, adding that playing Arrows, who dropped out from the CAF Champions League, would be difficult, but that his side would carry the day.

“I know very much about Zambian football. This is a country of the respected and highly profiled Kalusha Bwalya. Zambian football is highly rated in Africa,” he said.

Oti-Akenkeng said though his side had a few injuries, his team was ready for the game as he had come with a good game plan.

And Faisal's chief executive officer George Emoako said his side would not go to town with Arrows' humiliating defeat to Enyimba as every game was different.

“I don't know how Enyimba managed to score six goals past hapless Arrows. I haven't read anything about the match, but in football anything is possible.

“There is no such thing as advantage in football. The best team wins as sometimes you need a bit of luck to be on your side,” Emoeko said.

King Faisal, who have played against teams from Senegal, Nigeria and Sierra Leon to reach this far in the Confederations Cup, have competed in three League games in the Ghanian local league where they have won two of their matches and drawn one . Meanwhile, Chilima maintained that team trainer, Colonel Banda was still in charge of the team, adding that his absence from the team was due to illness.

“If you don't believe me, you can go to Maina Soko Military Hospital and check the records with the doctors.

The coach has gout and he is failing to walk. Get it from me, Banda is still coach and he would take charge when he feels better,” Chilima said.

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