Why Kotoko Must Show No Mercy On Kariobangi Sharks Featured
20 Dec

Why Kotoko Must Show No Mercy On Kariobangi Sharks

Not playing competitively and playing in a continental club competition was always going to be tough for C.K. Akonnor and his Kumasi Asante Kotoko team.

That was the narrative before the start of the campaign, especially after Kariobangi Sharks’ brutal dismantling of Arta Solar of Djibouti, but so far any early doubts have been banished.

Following last weekend’s 0-0 stalemate in Kenya, pressure is mounting on William Muluya and his charges to make amends in Ghana on Saturday as the two sides meet in the return fixture.

This bodes well for Akonnor and his boys who have been impressive at home in recent weeks- outplaying, outrunning and outscoring their opponents and making their favourite Baba Yara Sports Stadium a fortress to visiting teams.

However, the Porcupine Warriors must be very mindful of the opposition because the football map on the continent has changed and there are no longer minnows in the game.

Previous experiences with Barrack Youth Controllers and CARA Brazzaville alone should jolt the team out of that thought.

Kariobangi Sharks should not be underestimated neither should they be overestimated! Over the last few years, Asante Kotoko have struggled to make a formidable appearance in continental club competitions- a sharp contrast to their huge reputation as one of the most successful clubs on the continent.

Kariobangi Sharks may not be a household name on the continent at present considering their pedigree in continental club competitions vis-à-vis their Ghanaian opponents.

Kariobangi Sharks have in their fold last season’s top scorer of the Kenyan Premier league; Eric Kapaito who scored 17 goals to achieve this feat, so do they have Sydney Lokale, another dangerous player who plays behind Kapaito.

As a club that thrives on counter attacking football, their tricky wingers of James Mazembe (LW) and George Abege (RW). The Porcupine Warriors need to be very cautious when attacking and also do their very best to prevent Lokale and Abege from crossing the ball. Kotoko’s midfield will also need to outplay the ingenuity of midfield maestro Patillah Omotto.

One key element that can make or break Kotoko’s African journey is the tactics of Akonnor will utilise. He’s known for his tactical masterpiece but managers sometimes do commit tactical suicide that affects their teams. Akonnor must make his defence impregnable to avoid an unwanted goal by Sharks. 

However, we can be rest assured that Kotoko won’t lack in scoring plenty goals. Despite Songne Yacouba’s ruthless attack not present due to his fitness concerns, the Porcupine Warriors have still played fluid attacking football that birthed goals.

The arrival of Maxwell Baakoh has brought in more attacking and creative qualities- with former Karela player jading his opponents with his pace and dribbling instincts.

So there is no doubt that the tricky Baakoh will break down Shark’s defences and offer exceptional services to anyone that will lead Kotoko’s line on Saturday. Kotoko boasts the firepower upfront and a creative midfield to wreak havoc to any team in the competition and Kariobangi Sharks are no exception.

Containing a blend of veterans and exciting youngsters, this Kotoko side is more than capable of breaking the continental jinx by going far in this competition but they must first deal with their Kenyan opponents ruthlessly to achieve this feat.

Anything less than qualifying to the next phase of the competition will be a spectacular failure.

By: Godfred Budu Yeboah

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