Kumasi Asante Kotoko have a mountain to climb as they cross swords with their bogey-side, Kpando Heart of Lions, at the Kpando stadium on Sunday, in the seventh week fixture of the ongoing GLO Premier League in Ghana.
With Kotoko having amassed nine points out of a possible eighteen from six matches, the Porcupine Warriors are not unaware of the threat in Heart of Lions since the Kpando based lads have become the nemesis of Kotoko in recent times.
And as if to further stoke the embers of rivalry between the two clubs ahead of this crucial encounter, the Lions from Kpando have thrown the first salvo at their opponents. Call it as a means of raising tension or an opportunity to cash in on the large crowd of supporters Asante Kotoko draws to footballing events, but Lions are not to be left out of it.
The CEO of Heart of Lions, Desmond Frimpong Manso (a.k.a Cocroach), has described the match as the ‘mother of all battles’. Cocroach thinks a win for his side on Sunday will confirm his club’s superiority over both Kotoko and Hearts of Oak (presumably the two most glamorous clubs in Ghana), since the Phobians have already fallen to Lions 2-0 at their dreaded den in Kpando this season.
“As for Hearts of Oak we have placed them beneath us after beating them back to back in the Top 4 and then finishing them off in the league and now Kotoko is our next victim,” said Cocroach.
With Heart of Lions being the only team to have beaten Kotoko a record four times in a row in Ghana this year (back to back in the Top 4 and on two occasions in the SWAG cup), they definitely have the bragging rights but the big question is, “Can Kotoko call off the Lions’ bluff?”
Interestingly, Kotoko’s current Coach was in the helm off affairs at Heart of Lions, last season as their Coach, and the stage is thus set for perhaps the most explosive and mouth-watering game in the first round of the GLO Premier League.
As Kotoko’s coach, Paa Kwasi Fabin, travels back to face his former team, there will only be one thing in mind and that is revenge against Lions, but quite ironically, Kotoko suffered their worst successive defeats at the hands of Lions when Paa Kwasi was the Head coach of the Kpando club. Heart of Lions maintained their assistant coach Orlando who has been promoted to the position of the Head Coach after the departure of Paa Kwasi Fabin to Kotoko.
For Lions, they would be looking to prove to the whole world that they are still a formidable side even without Paa Kwasi and as the saying goes ‘when two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers’ . There has never been a match between the two sides which has been easy ever since Kotoko lost 1-0 in Kpando to Lions in 2003 with the Lions gaining the accolade as the ‘Giant Killers’.
Then again the issue of Kotoko walking off the field in Accra (ye mbo biom) against Lions in the 2004 Top 4 tournament, is still fresh in the minds of Kotoko faithfuls, and nothing will stop them from going all out for the jugular on Sunday.
With Heart of Lions occupying the fourth position on the league table, there is everything to play for as they approach the game on Sunday with all the seriousness it deserves.
Only Time Will Tell Who Carries The Game On Sunday! We await the outcome with bated breath.
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