Asante warn Chiefs ahead of semis
Asante warn Chiefs ahead of semis

Posted in News on Jul 03, 2002.

Ghanaian visitors Asante Kotoko are not in South Africa on holiday and a warning has been issued to their Vodacom Challenge semifinal opponents Kaizer Chiefs to ‘expect havoc’ when the two sides clash at Mmabatho Stadium on Sunday.

The Porcupine Warriors - as they are known back in Ghana came close to taking the Kudu horn trophy away from South Africa last year when they lost to Chiefs on 3-2 penalties. They have now reinforced their squad leaving no stone unturned for the Sunday semifinal.

Club official George Amoako told a media briefing on Thursday that the Ghanaians were fired up for the Chiefs clash.

“We are here well equipped with a full complement of the squad,” he warned. “Last year we brought a second string team as our league was in full swing but this time around we have brought all our top players.”

Amoako brought five players to the media briefing and described them as “just samples of what to expect”. Among them is Ghana’s youngest international Joe Sam, who is also captain of the national under-17 team heading to the junior World Cup.

Kotoko have already acclimatised to South African conditions after going through a light training session yesterday. Six of the Kotoko players are members of the Ghanaian national team with midfielder Godwin Ablordey likely to keep the Chiefs defence busy afternoon.

Frank Osei and Nana Arhin could also wreck havoc if left unchecked. The two, a long with Ablordey, have accounted to Kotoko’s 16 goals in 15 matches. The Kotoko defence can also be hard to crack and it is for this stable defence that Kotoko has gone 11 matches without a loss winning nine and drawing two moving into second spot on their log.

The Porcupine Warriors, who are on a four-break break from league activities, will also use the Vodacom Challenge as preparation for their league clash against archrivals and log leaders Hearts of Oak on July 21.

New Kotoko coach Ian Porterfield has also started playing mind games with his players. "They need to dream big and aspire to greatness. Football is a big mind game and you often get to where you plan to go,” Porterfield said shortly after the arrival. "If you dream big and convince yourself that this is where you want to go, you definitely will get there".

Amakhosi veteran midfielder Doctor Khumalo, fresh from a weeklong training camp in Swaziland where they won 3-0 against Mbabane Swallows and lost 5-3 to Manzini Wanderers, had a brief message for the Ghanains. “Jabu is fresh from the World Cup and hungry for action,” he said. “And he will be the remedy to the menacing Ghanaians.”

"The coach and some of the players have gone for therapy as we have done a lot of hard training in Swaziland,” he said.

Bucs opponents Lupopo held up at airport

St Eloi Lupopo of Democratic Republic of Congo, who will play against Orlando Pirates on the semifinals of the Vodacom Challenge, were held up at the Johannesburg International Airport from Wednesday and missed the official welcome of the visiting teams at VodaWorld on Thursday.

But they are expected to travel to Mafikeng in the North West later on Thursday to join other participating teams.

But that is the least of Pirates’ worries. The men in black and white are under pressure to produce positive results following a dull season. They will also be out to equal Amakhosi’s record of two Vodacom Challenge titles.

"We have been in training for the past two weeks preparing for this tournament,” said Pirates coach Jean-Yves Kerjean.

"We have a lot of changes in our squad with a couple of new players coming up but I cannot elaborate more on that. Watch us on Sunday.”

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