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Ghanaian Players Abroad

Asante Kotoko will continue their journey to make the CAF Champions League group stage for the first time in over a decade when they host Al Hilal Omdurman on Wednesday.

The fixture at the Accra Sports Stadium is the first installment of a two-legged qualifying tie of Africa’s premier club competition.

Kotoko secured passage to this stage after eliminating Mauritian champion FC Nouadhibou.

The Porcupine Warriors drew the first leg away in Nouackhott before having the second leg determined in their favor after their opponents’ uncompromising stance on some technical issues leading to the match been declared as a forfeiture.

Unlike the Nouadhibou hurdle, the Al Hilal clahs will be Kotoko’s toughest task yet and their preparation has not been helped with some latest developments around the club.

Asante Kotoko after an underwhelming start to the season decided to sack Head Coach Maxwell Konadu.

Interim Coach Johnson Smith

Assistant Johnson Smith was asked to step in as interim boss and he supervised a crucial away win against Dreams FC in the Ghana Premier League.

However, issues with his license means he is ineligible to lead the team on the bench meaning his spot will be occupied by another assistant coach Abdulai Gazale.

 

These happenings as well as others (the resignation of the Communications Director) certainly will affect the team’s psyche for such a crucial match.

Expect Asante Kotoko however to do everything possible to ready themselves for the task ahead.

Head to Head:

The two teams met for the first time in 1990 during the Quarter Finals of this same competition (though it was known as the African Club of Champions Cup).

Kotoko drew 2-2 in Sudan and won 2-1 in Kumasi to progress 4-3 on aggregate.

Their paths crossed again at the 2004 Confederation Cup Group Stage.

Both sides won their respective home matches. Hilal beat Kotoko in Sudan 2-0 while the latter recorded a 3-0 win in Kumasi.

Eventually, Kotoko progressed to the final of the competition only to lose to arch rivals Hearts of Oak.

During the 2018-19 CAF Confederation Cup campaign, Asante Kotoko once again faced Al Hilal at the Group stage.

This time around, the Sudanese giants beat Kotoko 1-0 at home before recording a 1-1 draw in Kumasi (a result that cost the Porcupine Warriors qualification to the knockout rounds).

Team News:

Aside long time absentee Mudasiru Salifu, Asante Kotoko have a fit pool of players to select from.

However, Brazilian import Fabio Gama is not expected to play any part in the game.

 

Al Hilal also traveled with a contingent of players who have tested negative for Covid-19 and are free to play.

Match Facts:

Asante Kotoko have not scored more than one goal in any of the games played in so far.

The Porcupine Warriors have kept just 2 Clean sheets in all competitions this season.

Al Hilal have won three of their last five away games scoring 6 goals and conceding one in the process.

The Sudanese side won theirast away game in the competition 1 nil (against Vipers FC of Uganda)

Overall they qualified with an aggregate scoreline of 2-0

Date, Time and Where to Watch:

The game will be played on Wednesday December 23 at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Kick off is slated for 3pm GMT.

The match will be live on GTV Sports+ and also streamed live via Asante Kotoko’s virtual channel on CEEK.com.

Referee and Match Officials:

Ivorian official Bienvenu Sinko will handle the encounter.

He will be assisted by compatriots Koabenan Prosper Adiouman, Nouho Ouattara and Roland Léonce Danon as the Fourth referee.

Nigerian Sanusi Mohammed would serve as the Match Commissioner whiles Ghana’s Dr. Christiana Baah serves as the COVID-19 officer for the match.

Prediction:

Judging by the developments around the two teams, a score draw is not far from happening.

Michael Asare | SilverSports

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