BY EMMANUEL ASANTE ATTAKORA
CONGOLESE CLUB Athlétique Renaissance Aiglon Brazzaville (CARA) will today host Asante Kotoko in the second leg in the preliminary round of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederations Cup in Congo.
Kotoko beat CARA by a lone goal, in the first leg at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in a game that saw referee Falou Kane awarding five penalties.
Many have warned and advised Kumasi Asante Kotoko ahead of the match and GNA Sports takes a look at five important things the porcupine warriors should take into account, as they embark on a journey to silent CARA in their own back yard.
Kotoko should be ready for intimidation from CARA before the match.
CARA came to Ghana and didn’t look like a side that was to be pushed aside as they exhibited gross disrespect in Kumasi before the game by urinating on the playing pitch, before training a day before the game.
And they losing by a goal and knowing that they have a good chance of qualifying to the next round of the competition, would subject Kotoko to all forms of intimidation right from arrival to the start of the match.
Kotoko shouldn’t expect a fair officiating; having been awarded four penalties in the first leg encounter, Kotoko should expect that referee Martin Mokete from Lesotho, who has been assigned to handle the return leg, would have a lot of pressure on him to either award a penalty or have some decisions go in favour of CARA to help them kick the porcupine warriors out of the competition.
With this in mind, they must go into the game with their own referee by being extra cautions and playing according to the whistle. Anything short of this would see them smiling on the wrong side of their faces.
No need for defensive play. It would be absolutely needless for Kotoko to enter the game with a defensive mindset. Though they have a one goal advantage to themselves, there would be no need to play defensive as an away goal would go a long way to help them advance to the next stage of the competition.
Any attempt to play a defensive game would see them bear undue pressure from the home and are capable of crumbling under the intense pressure.
Players must take chances. The first leg saw Kotoko squandering some descent scoring chances, including three penalties, the second leg provides them the opportunity to make amends and take their chances as they come.
Playing away from home in such a crucial game, gives no room for being wasteful or they would pay dearly for that and therefore the likes of Sadick Adams, Yakubu Mohamed and Baba Mahama as well as captain Amos Frimpong must utilize any chance that comes their way no matter the situation.