Two-time African champions, Asante Kotoko S/C, would be looking forward to breaking a decade old record as they square off against Coton Sport F/C of Garoua in their final preliminary Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), Confederation Cup tie at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi, on Sunday, January 20.
The Porcupine Warriors, are in the hunt to make it to the “Money Zone” of the competition for the first time in ten years, a feat, which would ostensibly boost their pedigree and image on the continent.
The Ghanaian giants, go into the match with a 3-2 first leg away win advantage and the morale in camp is high as the management, technical team and playing body, had signaled their readiness to make history.
It had been seventeen years, the last time Kotoko won an away game, by three goals in their African campaign.
In 2002, the Ghanaian giants defeated AS Police 3-2 to achieve that feat, under the Herbert Mensah-administration and would go on to play in the grand finale of the then Cup Winners Cup competition.
“Kotoko seem to be in an advantageous position, but we are not complacent knowing the task ahead of us,” coach Charles Akonnor, told the media, saying the battle was not yet over.
The Cameroonians, who were overwhelming favourites in the first leg have promised to give the Porcupine Warriors a good run for their money, a threat the Kotoko management had taken seriously.
Coach Akonnor rallied their teeming supporters to throng the Stadium in order to cheer on the players, saying they would need all hands on deck to realize their dreams.
His charges, he said, were ready to overcome their opponents as they had been psyched up for the match.
In striker Sogne Yacouba, the Porcupine Warriors have a player who could cause damage to any opposition on a good day, and it was against this backdrop that the technical team is working feverishly to put the Burkinabe in the right frame of mind ahead of the match.
Whether or not Coach Akonnor would deploy an all attacking strategy as happened in the first leg remains to be seen, but the fact is that Kotoko is being cautiously optimistic in their approach to the game.
For the average Kotoko fan, the match is far from over judging from the recent debacles the team had suffered in their African campaigns.
Some unfancied teams, including CARA Club of Congo, BYC of Liberia and Algeria’s MC Eulma had all succeeded to defy the odds as they edged the Porcupine Warriors in a dramatic fashion.
The Cameroonians, who have the penchant for scoring away goals, definitely would be seeking to hurt the Ghanaian giants, and it is up to Kotoko to leave no stone unturned in their preparation for the encounter.