Big League Back! • Ishmael Addo Plays First Match For Hearts • Gargo To Lead Ashgold From The Bench
After the respite of the mid-season break, attention returns to the big stage of the Onetouch Premier League this weekend, with struggling Accra Hearts of Oak and Ashantigold drawing attention over what lies ahead of them. Hearts welcome bogey side, Real Sportive, to the Ohene Djan Stadium, while Ashantigold travel to Abrankese for an uncertain adventure in the court of debutantes Kessben FC. On a weekend when league leaders, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, pursue continental glory, a la the CAF Confederation Cup, with an away tie against Nigeria’s Dolphins at the second preliminary stage, Hearts will outdoor their brand of favoured returnees, namely Ishmael Addo and Charles Taylor, as they chart their path towards recovery. Indeed, the philosophy that influenced the operation that brought back Ishmael and Taylor, as well as the recall of Charles Vardis from suspension, has understandably revived hopes among the Phobian faithful that bright days lie ahead. Sportive were stubborn at home in Tema when they split points with Hearts in a goalless game, but the immediate reaction of Coach Ken Augustt to the effect that they were looking forward to the return match in Accra epitomised the confidence he had in the likes of Kamel Yunus, Fuseini and Alhassan Nuhu, Esmy Mends and goalkeeper Ben Teiko. But greater smiles might be on the face of Hearts’ Israeli coach, Eyal Lachman, after managing to screw their defence tight enough that they have not conceded more than a goal in recent engagements, while packing a field that comprises the technically gifted Kofi Abanga, and new arrival, Obed Ansah. Last Sunday’s SWAG Cup loss to Kotoko was the latest in a string of setbacks that have bedevilled Ashantigold on various fronts since the league recessed. The Obuasi side were bundled out of the CAF Champions League two weeks back and their trusted coach, David Duncan, broke ties with them in what appeared to be a direct result of the club’s failed continental bid. Despite confirming their target on the league title, even Kotoko’s absence does not appear to hold some respite for Ashantigold whose new technical team of Mohammed Gargo and Camara Dini, both former players, would require digging deep into their reserves to match the quality of the experienced Hans van der Pluym at Kessben. Also taking place this weekend will be games between Arsenal and Zaytuna at Berekum, Heart of Lions and Wa All Stars at Kpando, Tema Youth versus Great Olympics in Tema, Liberty Professionals versus Hasaacas at Dansoman in Accra and King Faisal versus All Blacks in Kumasi.
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