Kumasi Asante Kotoko risk missing the services of their livewire, Songne Yacouba, at the next stage of their CAF Confederation Cup campaign on medical grounds.
Graphic Sports investigations reveal that the trusted Burkinabe striker is battling with a terminal disease, which has sidelined him for some time now, causing a big headache for both the technical team and the management of the club.
Further investigations unravelled that Kotoko's poster boy would have sorely missed the club's first-round assignment had the match not been cancelled at the last minute by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) last Saturday.
When contacted yesterday, the CEO of Kotoko, George Amoako, confirmed that Yacouba was indisposed but declined to give any details.
He, however, assured that doctors were working around the clock to bring the player back to fitness in the coming days.
"What I can say is that the doctors are seriously working on him and hopefully, he will be back soon," he said.
Mr Amoako was optimistic that the goal poacher would recover in no time to join the club's African campaign.
The veteran soccer administrator described the club's walkover in the CAF Confederation Cup as a good omen to Kotoko and their teeming supporters since it saved the club from a heavy financial burden it would have incurred in flight and hotel bills.
He said apart from the huge expenditure involved in travelling to Cameroun and back, the uncertainty which surrounded the match made it difficult for management to promote the first leg match which was supposed to be played against a Cameroonian side in Kumasi on Wednesday.
"Due to the uncertainty surrounding the match, it could have been disastrous for Kotoko because it made it difficult for effective planning and adequate promotion of the match," he explained.
"We have to thank our stars for the walkover. At least it will give us more time to prepare for the next match."
For his part, the Communications Director of the club, Sarfo Duku, also said the CAF decision was timely as it lifted a huge financial burden off the club.
"We saw it coming. In terms of finances, it is good, but in terms of activeness, it will disturb the team a bit.
"It is always the best to start a competition from the scratch in order to get the competitive edge, but it's okay," Mr Duku noted.
"For now, we will try and get some high profile friendly matches to play to keep the team in shape before our next match."
Kotoko are scheduled to meet the winner of the tie between Arta Solar 7 of Djibouti and Kariobangi Sharks of Kenya next in the one-sixteenth first leg match in Kumasi on Wednesday, December 19.