BUDU’s CORNER: Why Ashgold Must Play Without Fear Against RS Berkane Featured
13 Sep

BUDU’s CORNER: Why Ashgold Must Play Without Fear Against RS Berkane

Not playing competitively and playing in a continental club competition was always going to be tough for Ricardo da Rocha and his Obuasi Ashgold team. That was the narrative before the start of the campaign, especially after being drawn against Akonangui of Equatorial Guinea, but so far, any early doubts have been banished.

Continentally, they’ve been faced with disturbing disparities, one with devastating force and another where they have barely shown up.
 
Saturday’s tie against Morocco’s RS Berkane at the Len Clay stadium will prove to be a difficult test for the Aboakese lads.
 
RS Berkane, a side that encapsulates a dogged determinism and a destructive dynamism, there will be no quarter given; Ashgold will not be allowed to slip for a moment.
 
The Moroccans were losing finalists in the competition last term- missing out on the coveted trophy after losing on penalties to Zamalek after 1-1 aggregate scoreline. 
 
Following their defeat to Chabab Atlas in the Moroccan Throne Cup which led to the subsequent dismissal of Mounir Jaouani, pressure is mounting on new manager Luis Fernandez and his charges to make amends in Ghana on Saturday as the two sides meet in the first leg.
 
This bodes well for Da Rocha and his boys who have been impressive at home in recent weeks- outplaying, outrunning and outscoring their opponents and making their favourite Len Clay Sports Stadium a fortress to visiting teams.
 
RS Berkane have in their fold experienced Hamdi Laachir and Ugandan import Patrick Kaddu, so do they have Alain Traore, another dangerous player who plays behind Laachir. As a club that thrives on counter attacking football, their tricky wingers of Djibril Ouattara (LW) and Bakr El Helali (RW) will be let loose on the Ghanaians. 
 
One key element that can make or break Ashgold’s African journey is the tactics Da Rocha will utilise. He’s known for his tactical masterpiece but managers sometimes do commit tactical suicide that affects their teams. Da Rocha must make his defence impregnable to avoid an unwanted goal by the visitors. 
 
However, we can be rest assured that Ashgold won’t lack in scoring plenty goals. Despite Amos Addai’s ruthless attack not present due to his fitness concerns, the Miners have still played fluid attacking football that birthed goals.
 
The Miners need to be very cautious when attacking and also do their very best to prevent Ouattara and El Helali from crossing the ball. Ashgold’s midfield will also need to outplay the ingenuity of midfield maestro Amine El Kass. 
 
Ashgold are at a point where this tie will define the success or failure in the competition. Should Ricardo da Rocha and his charges win the game convincingly, it will be a glorious one. 
 
The problem is that Luis Fernandez and RS Berkane don’t give a jot about this and perhaps offer the Ghanaians one of the toughest ties they could have faced. There will be no room for error, no complacency, and the Aboakese lads will have to show a side of them that even their most loyal fans are not sure they have.
 
To achieve that, they must first play above themselves and ensure they won’t replicate the lackluster performance that characterised their play in the second half of their game against the Equatorial Guineans in Obuasi a couple of weeks ago.
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