Kotoko vs Ashgold: 3 Key Battles To Look Out For As Ashgold Seek To Thwart High-flying Kotoko Featured
05 Jan

Kotoko vs Ashgold: 3 Key Battles To Look Out For As Ashgold Seek To Thwart High-flying Kotoko

Kumasi Asante Kotoko know better than anyone else that it is possible to get carried away with promising starts to the season.

The Porcupine Warriors will be looking forward to maintaining their superb form that has seen them pummeling all oppositions that dare faced them including a double victory over their sworn rivals, Accra Hearts of Oak and besting Kenyan outfit Kariobangi Sharks in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Expectations ahead of Ashgold’s trip to Baba Yara on Sunday are high as they contest Kotoko for the J.A.Kuffour Memorial trophy.

There is an assumption that there will be goals, relentless attacking football on both sides and a disregard for defending. That appeared to be the case when the teams met in a two- legged friendly months ago.

The Miners became the first and last side to inflict a defeat on the Porcupine Warriors, a breathless 3-1 victory that perhaps gives an indication of what we can expect on Sunday.

Below we take a look at the three key battles that will decide who comes out on top in this game.

Abdul Ganiyu v Shafiu Mumuni

Ismail Abdul Ganiyu has been a central figure in the Kotoko defence since arriving from lowly Karela FC, controlling their play from the heart of their back four.

The resolute centre-back could go up against Shafiu Mumuni who has been an albatross on the neck of the Kotoko defence in recent meetings, and the pace of the attacking talent will be a real feature on Sunday.

He will be hoping to get in down the sides of the Kotoko defence, although full-back Augustine Sefa is one of the few defenders who can cope with Mumuni's speed and trickery.

Sefa will need to support his centre-back, Ganiyu, at every opportunity.

Richard Senanu v James Akaminko

The pace of the game in midfield is likely to be off the charts as C.K Akonnor and Svetlana Tanasejevic look to establish a foothold in the game, meaning it could be down to Senanu to disrupt the Ashgold conductor.

Akaminko is a terrific passer of the football and if allowed, he will dictate the game for the Aboakese lads Senanu has been nothing short of sensational so far this term for Kotoko with his energy off the ball only matched by his quality in possession and the former Phar Rangers player will surely be charged with shutting down the robust Akaminko in the engine room on Sunday afternoon.

If Akaminko is allowed time on the ball, it could be a long day for the Kumasi boys.

Songne Yacouba v Richard Osei Agyemang

This pair have a bit of previous; the defender was effusive in his praise of the Burkinabe but was quick to add that Yacouba wasn’t the best attacker he has faced in his career when the two sides met in Kumasi during Kotoko’s triumph over the Miners months back.

“He is a good player but certainly not the best I have faced,” he said plainly after the game.

That came shortly after his arrival from Kotoko to begin his loan spell and he’s since been a commanding presence at the heart of the Ashgold defence.

Can he get the best of Yacouba this time around? But it is not just Yacouba’s technique that poses such a threat.

He is strong on the ball and Ashgold’s best option may be to force him out wide, where on occasion he can be marginalised.

Agyemang is Ashgold’s most effective centre-back when it comes to clearing their lines.

Kotoko’s best chance of exploiting him is in pace with Gyamfi, but in all other areas, including against the tricky Yacouba, Agyemang will expect to come out on top.

The dreadlocked striker hasn't quite looked the same player so far this term as he looks to back up his remarkable start to his Kotoko career but this would be the perfect opportunity for him to get his name back in the headlines.

This is shaping up like a real tussle and with the touch of needle involved, it should be a good watch.

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